Jaya Chopra’s grandfather was clear on one household rule. “He was so against wasting food, and that’s just how we grew up," she says of her childhood in New Delhi, India. “We were told we were lucky to have proper meals every day. We really treasured food.”
Chutneys and pickles, a staple in many Indian homes, offer the ultimate waste-wise solution. “If vegetables are going limp in the fridge, we just cook them up,” says Jaya. On moving to Australia with her young family, the culture of waste was a shock. “People didn’t seem to care about throwing away a squishy tomato, or an onion with a bit of black skin. To us, it was unacceptable.”
Jaya mastered her grandmother’s chutney recipe, which soon became the go-to request when attending dinner parties. That grew into Eat Me Chutneys, now a full-time gig for her and her son Ankit, who sell their homemade goods at farmers’ markets in Sydney. “The way we think and what we are is what we have put into this,” Jaya says of their products, designed for serving on cheese platters, in a toasted sandwich, or alongside roasted meats.
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There are three product ranges on offer, each reflecting a desire to do good through the business. Rescued chutneys use the wonky and wounded produce local growers are otherwise unable to sell to make eggplant and curry leaf or tomato and kaffir lime chutneys. Quince with clove or rhubarb with caraway seeds are part of Eat Me’s organic selection, brined with apple-cider vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Fairtrade is a series of tamarind-based chutneys which were awarded an official seal of approval for using fairtrade-certified sugar and tamarind, which can’t be sourced in Australia.
“When you’re small, you can change and be more conscious of your choices,” says Ankit, adding that first-hand visits to their produce suppliers in spots like Dural and Richmond are an important part of Eat Me Chutney’s ethos. One chemical-free garlic grower has challenged them to use up their tough-to-sell individual cloves. “It’s hard to convince people to try garlic chutney,” Ankit says. “We’ll be pretty happy to get that one going!”
*Find a list of markets where you can find Eat Me Chutneys online at eatmechutneys.bigcartel.com*