Have you ever gone away for a few weeks and found out that you’d left the freezer door ajar? Well, I did. And let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty.
Before traveling, since I’m anti-gaspillage (against food waste), I jammed whatever I could into my already-stuffed freezer, including a half-eaten tomato tart, which I thought would be nice to have ready-and-waiting upon my arrival home, partially-used blocks of butter, and the miscellaneous leftover ends of bread that one collects when one constantly buys too much bread. When I returned, I realized that one of those bread pieces had been caught in the door and kept it from sealing closed.
Oddly, the fridge doors have an alarm, which beeps if they’re not completely shut, but the freezer door doesn’t. Coming home to an array of items that were half-frozen, half-defrosted (with gloopy liquid oozing out of them), possibly defrosted and then refrozen, and a few that were unidentifiable, was a bummer.
Some things I knew had to go – like sausages, stock, and a rather moldy half-eaten tomato tart, that I was sure could be reheated when I returned from my travels. (I won’t share a picture of that, but it looked like it needed a good shave.) But I also had several precious bags of cranberries that I’d stashed away for Thanksgiving and while they weren’t completely defrosted, I didn’t want to (or know if I could) refreeze them, so I decided to make chutney…and a whole lotta it.
Fortunately, all my candied and dried fruits were in fine condition and since I was cleaning my freezer, I also did a little purge of my drawers of things that weren’t sparking joy in my kitchen, and cooked them all up with some spices, some honey, orange juice, and vinegar, to make this tangy-tangy condiment.
(Just a note that dried fruits always spark joy in me. But a drawerful of little crinkled up cellophane bags with thirteen raisins or two dried apricots in them, don’t.)
To share my joy with you, I whittled my catastrophe-size recipe down to a reasonable recipe, but you’re welcome to double, triple, or quadruple it. Although it’ll keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator, I had so much that tightly sealed the overload into freezer bags and placed them back in the congélateur. However next time I’m headed out of town, I’m going to make sure my freezer is tightly sealed, because I’d be a bummer to lose those.