In a pickle over chutney.

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Sometimes I find my chutney reserves are low and I buy a commercial one. The label instruction on a jar of Rosella Fruit Chutney had me confused:

Dear Sir,

You make a passable fruit chutney.

Not, in all modesty, as good as mine though. I make a fruit chutney that is of heroic proportions, that inspires odes and stirring songs of praise, a chutney to swoon over.

But, in the absence of time, of opportunity, of enthusiasm and, indeed, quite often of all three I have been known to purchase the odd bottle of Rosella Fruit Chutney.

Alas sometimes one must be pragmatic.

The reason I am writing is not, as you may suspect, to sing the praises of the Newbery Chutney; I would in fact prefer to keep it a secret. No, I write to ask for a little education.

I have always been of the understanding that pickles, relishes and chutneys were means of dragging a little of summer through the winter months. A way of preserving the excess fruits of the harvest and enjoying them far into the grey, soggy days of the hibernal doldrums.

If this is the case, and commonsense sort of leans that way, why does the cap on Rosella Fruit Chutney advise me to 'Refrigerate after opening'? I have enough trouble stopping Mrs Newbery accumulating a vast array of little tubs of 'stuff' in the back corners of the fridge without also adding fruit chutney to that already rather daunting ecosystem.

Surely anything with the stamina to grow on, or even in, chutney would rip the door off your fridge to get to it anyway? Such a organism would command instant respect and probably star in a feature length horror movie with Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver.

What is going on? I am sure that chutneys predate the twin door cyclic defrost.

If the modern house-wife is supposed to keep her chutney in the fridge, how did the average cottage-wife of the middle ages keep her chutney? And the Castle-wives of the feudal days?

Or the cave-wives long before them?

Yours in a pickle,

J Cosmo Newbery (Mr).

They replied saying that the 'Refrigerate after opening" statement was required by health regulations. It isn't.