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This time of year, when fresh green shoots are just starting to arrive at my farmer's market, I go a little crazy with anticipation for the local growing season to pick up the pace. This is when a trip to the international grocery store can be so incredibly inspiring.
Bags of green peanuts, piles of chili peppers, bundles of long beans, tiny speckled eggplants, and bunch after bunch of greens (some familiar, some not) shake me out of my cold weather doldrums in the same way as seeing the cherry trees blooming. Though I ignore the durian in the fruit section, I can't pass up the cases of custardy champagne mangoes.
Champagne mangoes are easy enough to work into meals, but should you do as I did and spring for a case of them, they're also a delight to preserve. Although traditional Indian chutneys typically make use of green, unripe mangoes, this recipe is perfect for that moment when your mango supply is ripening faster than you can manage. Even very ripe, they hold their shape well in a preserve. Paired with mustard seeds, fresh ginger, chili pepper, garlic, and onion, they make an excellent, subtly spiced chutney.
Any chutney is perfect with cheese, but mango chutney also easily becomes the base of a meal. Toss a spoonful of this one with carrots or parsnips before roasting, brush over chicken thighs on the grill for an instant glaze, or even heap a spoonful over rice for an easy side. At the very least it'll keep you busy until the rhubarb, strawberries, and asparagus arrive from closer to home.
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