Chutneys, Pickles and Relishes
A relish is a condiment made with chopped fruits or vegetables and a sauce. Typically, relishes are pickled, which allows them to be stored for extended periods of time for year round use.
Some people distinguish between relish and chutney, arguing that relish is made with vegetables, while chutney is made with fruit. This distinction is largely regional, since both chutneys and relishes can be sweet, savory, or spicy, and they are intended to pair with substantial main dishes. A small amount of these condiments usually goes a long way, since the flavors are concentrated, adding a burst of energy to the dish in question.
Fruits like cranberries, apricots, persimmons, and apples are common choices for a fruit relish, which may be made slightly sweet to bring out the fruit flavors, or more spicy. Spicy fruit relishes can be served with things like seafood, while a sweeter relish pairs well with spicy food like Indian food. Cranberry relish with shavings of lemon peel is a common offering on the table at Thanksgiving in the United States.
Pickled cucumbers are a common feature in vegetable relish, although other veggies may be pickled in a relish for more flavor and texture. Carrots, onions, peppers, eggplant, cabbage, and cauliflower sometimes pop up as well, for example. Generally, vegetable relishes may be made savory, tart, sweet, or spicy, depending on the taste of the cook and the desired application for the relish. Vegetable relishes often go well with meats such as sausage and roasts.
A relish can elevate a boring dish to make it more interesting, or help to cut an intensely spicy flavor to make a dish more tolerable to those with delicate sensibilities. For people who are only accustomed to sweet pickle relish, an adventure into the wide options in the relish world might be rather enjoyable.
Although chutney is most widely known as a condiment originating in India, the concept has spread worldwide and mutated to suit local needs as most foods do. The term chutney comes from the East Indian chatni, meaning "strongly spiced," and is described as a condiment which usually consists of a mix of chopped fruits, vinegar, spices and sugar cooked into a chunky spread. Most chutneys are on the spicy-hot side, but it's easy to adjust the heat factor if you make your own.
Chutneys are traditionally served with curried foods. The sweet and tart flavor combined with a touch of spice compliments strong-flavored meats such as wild game, but also works well with beef, pork and chicken. Chutney perks up cheeses and sweeter versions make a fabulous spread for crackers and breakfast toast or bagels.
Whats the the difference between chutney and relish?
Chutney and relish are often used interchangably as condiment terms. The confusion is understandable. Chutneys can be savory, and relishes can be sweet. In general, chutneys have a chunky spreadable consistency much like a preserve, whereas relishes are hardly cooked, use less sugar if any, and are more crunchy to the bite.