The difference between chutney, relish and pickles

Image 1 RECIPE-chicken-chutney-curry

The words chutney, relish and pickles often cause much confusion, especially since they are often used interchangeably. Impress your guests by learning the difference between the three. 

1. Chutney

Normally made with fruit and fragrant spices, chutney usually has a thick and chunky texture. Chutney has its origins from India where it was called ‘chatni’ or ‘chalni’. As a result, chutneys were originally designed to pair with Indian curries but these days, they can be enjoyed in other ways. If you’re entertaining at home, simply add a bowl of chutney to your cheese platter or use it as a dipping sauce for finger foods. You can also enjoy it in a toasted cheese sandwich. 

Barker’s NZ’s peach & mango chutney is a versatile chutney that can be used for the above purposes as well as in cooking; you can add it to a quick and easy chicken curry or use it to add a twist to otherwise boring stir fried vegetables.

Chicken and chutney curry

2. Relish

The main difference between chutney and a relish is that chutney is usually made with fruit while relishes use vegetables. And while chutney is made using a lot of spices, a batch of relish doesn’t use much if at all. The ingredients for a relish include chopped vegetables, white vinegar, sugar, salt and spices. As a result, a jar of relish has a piquant or pickle-like flavour. Additionally, chutneys tend to be softer due to their longer cooking time while the vegetable pieces in a relish remain relatively firm. 

Like chutney, relishes are also versatile. Barker’s NZ’s tomato relish and sweet chilli relish can be used as a delicious substitute for tomato or sweet chilli sauce. Both relishes can also be incorporated in mid-week dinner meals – why not mix a bit of tomato relish with crème fraiche for a lovely creamy pasta sauce to go with your favourite pasta. If you’re catering for a party, dollop some relish in a batch of salted caramel truffles or savoury cheese and tomato scrolls to impress your guests. You can also stir in relishes in your favourite dip – Barker’s NZ’s beetroot relish goes beautifully in hummus, resulting in a dip that’s not only tasty but boasts a vivid shade of purple. 

Beetroot relish hummus dip

3. Pickles

So, what’s a pickle then? Here, the lines are blurrier, especially between pickles and relishes. After all, both are vinegary and use raw vegetables. Generally though, pickles are raw vegetables preserved or marinated in brine or vinegar; they are generally not slow cooked. If the major ingredient in the preserve is vinegar or salt, then you’re most likely making a pickle, not a relish. Finally, because pickles are not cooked for as long (or not cooked at all), a jar of pickles isn’t saucy like a jar of relish.


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