Special to the Union Leader
"December 09, 2014"
Chutney House in Bow takes old New England favorites like chutney, marmalades and hermit cookies, creates them in homemade small batches and offers them packaged perfectly for gift giving.

BOW - What began four years ago on a whim has turned into a delicious little business known as Chutney House.

Tom Wilson says he was simply looking to fill a beautiful jar he found while cleaning out his refrigerator. He found himself turning to a favorite childhood memory and chose to whip up a batch of chutney, something his mother made and that he loved as a teen. The rest, as they say, is history.

Wilson says he called his mom for her recipe, looked at a few recipes online and then began to tweak and create his own version of green tomato chutney. It came out so delicious, he decided it would make a perfect little side business for this self-employed, out-of-work architect. The Chutney House was soon open for business, located in Wilson’s own licensed home kitchen in Bow. “Before I knew it I had decided I needed to add different flavors, since I really could not limit it to green tomato,” he said. “I now have about nine different varieties to choose from and they are all so unique - it is hard to pick a favorite.”

Wilson specializes in making traditional handmade New England Chutneys, pepper jellies, marmalades and, as he calls it, “The Great American Hermit,” which is basically an old-fashioned spice cookie very popular in this region of the country. He supplies both the individual buyer and the wholesale market, including restaurants and caterers.

Chutney House products, ranging from the sweet Peach Apple Chutney to the hot Habanero Pepper Jelly, are available at GoShopNH.com. Chutney House’s pepper jellies are all handmade in small stovetop batches. They are a blend of sweet and hot, and are all-natural. Pepper jellies can be used in the traditional manor as any jam or jelly, on toast or English muffins, for example. These jellies can also be used as a basting on grilled meats and poultry or as a condiment with lamb similar to a mint jelly. A very popular use for pepper jelly is to serve it on a soft cheese, like a cream cheese, on a cracker as an appetizer.

Chutney is created through a blend of fruit, apple cider vinegar, cane sugar and spices all boiled and then slow simmered for about five hours on the stove top. Cooking up a batch is one of Wilson’s favorite things to do.

“This has been a fun business to start, and I enjoy other aspects of it, too, like creating my website,” he says. “I have no aspirations to get really big. I just am enjoying what I do, and that I have created a successful little locally made product for people to enjoy.”

According to Wilson, hermit cookies are one of his big sellers and can be ordered, with or without the drizzle frosting. An 8-ounce package cost $3.50 plus shipping.

Some of Wilson’s selections, which cost $7.95 per 8-ounce jar, include green tomato, cranapple lemon, apple raisin, hot tomato and peach apple chutney. The ingredients are all natural, with no use of salt, artificial preservatives, corn syrup, stabilizers, MSG, dyes or chemicals. Wilson’s chutney is gluten and nut free. Chutney House’s marmalades come in a variety of orange-based flavors, including spicy orange, rum orange, cran orange and ginger orange. They also cost $7.95 per 8-ounce jar.

As for the future, Wilson says he would love to see the business grow slowly, so he can keep up with it, but he is very happy doing what he does today.

Chutney House: Bow, New Hampshire