Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paw Paw Chutney

At the moment we have way too many paw paws.  Despite giving lots away to family and friends and the resident possum sneaking a few when we got a little slack about picking them, we are still usually left with a back log of three or four.  And I can only eat so much paw paw!  So what do you do when you have too much paw paw?  Make paw paw chutney, of course!  (But you already had that worked out, didn't you?  'Cause you were clever and read the title!)

And how great is the internet?  You ask and it provides.  I found a few fabulous chutney recipes, got hubby to choose one he thought he might like the best and set about making chutney.

The recipe I used is here by Chef Alison Alexander at the 612 ABC website but for quick reference and with a few of my own added hints, here it is below as well.  It requires that you make a "spiced vinegar" to go in the chutney so a good bit of time is needed if you decide to make this.  But it's well worth it.  And there is also a maturing time of 4 weeks for the flavours to develop.  During the making I was a bit alarmed at how vinegary it smelt (talk about burn out your nasal passages!) and even tasted at the end.  But I put the last spoonful that couldn't fit into my bottles, in a dish, in the fridge and sampled it the next morning.  It was absolutely divine and not a bit vinegary in the least.  I can only imagine how good it will be after four weeks.

If you are going to have a go, don't forget to sterilize your jars first.  It's quite easy, the way I do it is to fully immerse the jars and lids in a pot of water, bring to boiling point and boil for 10 minutes.  I remove them with tongs and place them on a tray in a slow oven to dry for about another ten minutes.  Then allow them to cool before filling.

Paw Paw Chutney
by Chef Alison Alexander
Bracketed notes by Lillabilly
Spiced Vinegar:
2.5 litres vinegar (I used white)
250 g sugar (I used white for this too)
60g bruised ginger (peel fresh ginger and "bruise" by pressing down on it with the flat of your large knife or by giving it a bit of a bash with a mallet)
2 bay leaves
2 blades mace (I couldn't find this, but the nearest substitute is nutmeg.  I used 1/4 tsp)
6 whole cloves
1/2 cinnamon quill
2 tblespns white peppercorns (I couldn't find these either so I used the mixed variety)
1 tblespn white mustard seed
1 tsp salt

1.5 kg paw paw, ripe or slightly under-ripe
1 kg ripe tomatos skinned (do this by immersing the tomatos in boiling water until the skins split.  They will then come off quite easily when you rub them.  I'm not a fan of tomatos seeds in things so I squished mine to get most of the seeds out and chopped them roughly too, make sure you measure a kilo after you do that)
2 hot chillies, seeds removed (I finely chopped these)
500g sultanas (go through these by the handful to ensure none have tiny hard stems still attatched)
30g finely grated ginger
30g finely chopped garlic
2 onions, very finely chopped (I used brown)
1 tblspn salt
500g brown sugar

1.Vinegar: Place all ingredients in a large stainless steel pot and bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Simmer uncovered, for 20 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to stand, covered, for 1 hour.  Strain vinegar (use a fine seive to get that nutmeg out) and pour into sterilized bottles for later use.  (Since you only need 1.2 litres for the chutney, I put that amount aside and put the rest in a bottle.  Not sure what I'll do with it yet!)

2. Chutney: Dice paw paw and place into large (Yes! It needs to be large!) stainless steel pot with remaining ingredients and 1.2 litres of spiced vinegar.  Slowly bring to boil then simmer for 2 hours or until mixture has a jam like consistency.  ( I stirred mine fairly regularly.  You will need to make sure you watch the heat and stir it a bit towards the end when there is hardly any liquid left or it will burn.  Turn the heat down a bit at this stage if needed and don't walk away!)

3. Remove from heat and spoon into sterilized jars and seal immediately.  Store in a cool dark place (Once my jars had cooled completely I put them in the fridge 'cause I'm paranoid like that)  Allow to mature for 4 weeks before using.  Chutney very good with pork, ham or lamb (or beef! or on meat, cheese and salad sangas!)

For a smoother texture, paw paw, tomatos, chillies, sultanas, ginger and onions can be pureed in a food processor before cooking.  (I like chutney to have a bit of body to it and most of it cooks down to be very soft and squishy so I think finely chopping everything is a nicer way to go.  But you might not!  So you should definately do whatever you think you might like better.)

And that's it!  It makes heaps - I filled about 8 medium sized jars and a couple of smaller ones so there is lots for sharing around or giving as gifts.  Here's some of my finished product happily maturing away.

 Can't wait to try it out!  Do let me know if you have a go of this.  Happy chutneying, everyone!


  1. I'm not a fan of ripe paw paws, but green papaya salad...can't get enough of it! Lucky you having a tree. When we lived in Queensland we had a neighbour with an overhanging mango tree (it was huge), but we didn't ever get a single one because of possums, bats and bush turkeys. Sigh.

  2. Your jars are presented so beautifully! I haven't made Chutney but have made some yummy spicy tomato relish.

  3. Sounds great I'm in Perth and have 6 trees with about 20 paw paws ready to go. I like mine fairly spice so I'll try with the chilli seeds left in from my chilli bushes. I'll let you know how I go. Thanks for you very helpful tips regards Rosco