| As the bus drove from the airport into Port Vila, along the way we passed numerous Mango trees, heavily laden with fruit. Very similar to my June visit, when pawpaw were everywhere (and we made Pawpaw relish). Mango Chutney was added to the “to do list” during the one week stay.
On a Mango Mission
Everyone joined in preparing the mango. Local lads gathered the mangoes, then Mary and daughters, Esther and Emma prepared the fruit. For those not familiar with mango, the skin peels easily away to reveal two “cheeks”, Mary would slice away the flesh and the remaining seed was either disposed of, or put aside for eating the residual flesh, dripping with juice and full of sweetness.
I’ve modified a recipe, to fit in with the Vanuatu produced ingredients I had available.
2 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
6 cups mangoes, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tsp Venui white peppercorns
1 tsp Venui Chile / chilli powder (yes the spelling of “Chile” is correct in this instance)
(Alternatively use 1 tsp garlic, finely chopped or finely sliced and 1 tsp mustard)
- Combine sugar and vinegar in a large pot, bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
- Add remaining ingredients and simmer uncovered until syrupy and slightly thickened. 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally during cooking.
- Pour into clean hot jars.
In the Vanuatu situation, there was no oven to sterilise the jars, so I took the advice of Janet, who has lived in Vanuatu for many years, and who has found ways to preserve all manner of delicious fruit and vegetables. If an oven isn’t available to sterilise the jars, she recommends to firstly make sure the jars look clean, then pour hot relish into the jars, secure lid immediately, then tip the jar upside down, and leave for 20 minutes, then turn up the right way. This allows the seal to complete between the jar and lid, creating the vacuum necessary to prevent mould growing. Thanks Janet.
On the boil (or simmer)
Big thanks to Mary who has had a lifetime of cooking in a bush kitchen. I left it up to Mary to sort out the “simmer” and “boil” modes. Not an easy task for me, but one which Mary could do with her eyes closed.
The boys who gathered the mangoes and a few others in the village, received a gift of a jar of mango deliciousness.
Mi lukim yu