Ingredients / Jamming News

Relish, Chutney, Pickle – What’s in a Name?


I am often asked for Tomato Relish. If I have it in stock people are happy to buy it without tasting. They presume they know what it tasted like. However each Tomato Relish tastes  different depending on the cook, the quality of the tomatoes and the choice of aromatic flavouring ingredients. Gecko Grove Tomato Relish has a fresh herby taste. Other Tomato relishes might be sweeter, or more vinegary or look more yellow because of the added tumeric. It is all a matter of taste and you can’t really tell unless you do taste.

People usually have a taste of Tomato Quetta or Tomato Kasundi before buying. They ask “what is a Quetta?” Well it’s a name for a particular style of preserve.

There are many preserves you can make with Tomatoes- you can make Jam, Pickle, Relish, Ketchup, Quetta, Chutney, Passata just to name a few. They all contain tomato so whats with all these names? While European food culture has had preserves for hundreds of years, it was the European colonisation of India, and other Asian countries that has the greatest influence on the preserves we eat today.

Imagine the British soldier or civil servant in India having the first taste of Indian cooking after a a diet of British meat and vegetable flavoured mainly with onions, herbs, salt and pepper. After the initial shock wore off,  many British grew to appreciate the robust flavours. Chutney comes from the Hindustani word , chatni, meaning a strong sweet relish. Ketchup comes from the Chinese word koe-chiap.  From the 1800’s Asian condiments became available in Europe. By the 1900’s food conscious cooks began to made their own versions of chutney. They found it hard to source the ingredients and you can find amusing examples in old recipe books.      “To make Mango Chutney peel 4 pounds of ripe apples….”. Cooks made preserves with whatever they could find and over time , chutneys become sweeter, milder and were not made with oil. Recently however food lovers have become more adventurous with pepper, spice and chilli. Our Tomato Kasundi is a good example. It is an Indian oil preserve and is less sweet with more heat. Our version is lighter and less intense than an Indian Kasundi, but very tasty.

So what is with all the names? Every preserve maker will explain this differently but generally

A Relish is a simple preserve suitable for spreading on a sandwich. It will have one main recognisable flavour and a light fresh taste. They can be eaten immediately after cooking.  Our most popular Relish is Beetroot Relish.

A Chutney is a combination of fruit and/or vegetables and mix of spices. Sugar and vinegar is used to preserve. Long slow cooking is needed until the consistency is right and when bottled it is best left for a month  for the flavours to fully develop. Chutneys can range from  mild, like our Tomato & Eggplant Chutney to spicy, like our Tomato Chutney, to hot like our Bengali style Mango Chutney.

A Quetta is a saucey chutney. It is probably named after the town Quetta. Our Tomato and Capsicum Quetta can be used instead of tomato sauce.

A Pickle is usually made by salting the fruit or vegetable to draw out the moisture. The food can be sliced or kept whole. Excess salt is washed off and the food is bottled in vinegar, herbs and /or spices. Sugar can be added to balance the vinegar acid.  Pickles can be the simplest preserves to make. Our Eggplant Pickle is made by cooking the eggplant pieces in an oil and spices to cook out the liquid and looks  more like a chutney.






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