How Chutney Saved Seamen

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This is a fascinating history of how food was adopted and used across the world. Here is a little short story of How chutney saved seamen on long voyages across many oceans and seas. Chutney is a great traditional appetizer all over India. Traditionally most people have come to know of chutney from India, when you go back to find out how it was made, history tells us another story. You may have had the taste of chutney on any number of dishes. Chutney was traditionally made as an appetizer. To excite the taste bud before and during the meal. 

The Portuguese navigators and sailors were the pioneers in Europe to set across oceans to discover new lands. As the sea voyage was long and arduous many seamen succumbed to the deadly scurvy disease. After many years of losing seamen on long voyages, a doctor on one of the long journeys voyages discovered the sailors were dying due to scurvy due to lack of vitamin C.  That’s how the sailors started to prepare citrus fruits to preserves in salts. Once when they arrived in India these preserves become to be developed into a sorted variety of Chutneys today. 

Many ships stop in the islands of Azores to replenish their stock of food; like water, animals, with fruits for the long journey ahead. During one of their journeys, the ship called to port on the island of San Miguel in the archipelago of Azores. The doctor onboard discovered this phenomenon that when the seaman had fruits regularly they seemed to get better.

Thus he ordered large quantities of fruits, most oranges, and lemons, to stock onboard for the voyage. The doctor onboard got the fruits preserved in salt as pickles to process the fruits for the long journey. Once salted, the sailors had a sufficient amount of vitamin C for the entire trip and were able to return home safely. The doctor wittingly put an end to “scurry scurvy,” as the disease was described early on navigating the high seas.

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