Weeks ago I made a chutney of local ground cherries with onions and raisins. It came out very syrupy but I figured it will still be good in small doses with meats.

I was recently on vacation when hurricane sandy hit our east coast home -luckily nothing major occurred to our home-, and we were without power for several days. Anyway, I got back yesterday and noticed today that my chutney is not totally frozen.

I'm wondering

  • If chutney can spoil in the freezer if not totally frozen, and also what would cause the chutney to not completely freeze?
  • What are the signs of a spoiled half frozen chutney?

Any thoughts are welcome, thank you :)

  • 4
    I'm glad nothing too bad happened to your home, and I hope neither happened anything bad to the people arround you (you dind't mention it, but I guess nothing bad happened). I understand your feelings, but may I suggest removing the phrase related to the hurricane? It is not relevant to the facts you are asking, and, without it, the question would be more clear. It can be added as a comment to the question, to explain the circunstances.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Nov 19, 2012 at 11:11

5 Answers 5


It's doubtful that you'll get any spoilage in your freezer. Not much grows at -20°C, with or without liquid. Your chutney is likely not freezing because of its high sugar content: Freezing Point Depression. That's perfectly normal behavior.

  • 2
    Also, is the whole point of chutneys that they are so high in acid and sugar that they preserve very well? Not even sure why you'd freeze it in the first place if you'd sealed the chutney in sterilised containers.
    – Stefano
    Nov 19, 2012 at 16:44

I make large batches of chutney that I then store in a cryovac bag and keep them in my refrigerator. They last forever. Really, I think I have one that is at least a year old. Other than that, wayfaring stranger is correct about the freezing. It also applies to chocolate sauce and caramel sauce.


We talk about freezing but, really, the benefits come from the low temperature, not from the change from liquid to solid. When you put things in the freezer, it doesn't matter whether they become solid or not: it just matters that they get cold.


Chutneys can be very high in oil and/or be very salty - both factors can lower the point when a mixture freezes to a hard solid significantly.

  • At least as far as the chutneys we eat in England are concerned, I'd consider the sugar content long before the salt or oil content. And, actually, I can't think of any food that's so salty that it won't freeze. Even a saturated solution of salt in water will freeze at the temperatures obtained by a good domestic freezer. May 2, 2017 at 8:22

If your chutney is refusing to freeze hard at -20C, then the sugar content alone is likely create a high enough osmotic pressure environment to deter/dehydrate most bacteria. The main remaining risk is fungi/mold if you keep it at room temperature of in the fridge. This is pretty much the same as honey.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.