Green Tomato Chutney

A few weeks ago I made Green Tomato Chutney.  My parents had tomato plants in their backyard and as the days got shorter, fewer  and fewer tomatoes were ripening.  I suggested they make a batch of chutney and found myself the recipient of a bunch of green tomatoes.  Did I mention I’ve NEVER made Green Tomato Chutney?

Years ago I worked for a food stylist and we did recipe testing and recipe development.  I made several big batches of fruit chutney, carefully following her recipes and under her firm direction.  I remembered how delicious they were and then just days before getting the tomatoes from my folks someone mentioned she was making a batch of Green Tomato Chutney.

I started looking up recipes online and found a wide range.  Some looked overly complicated, others plain and simple but without the layers of flavor I love in a good chutney. I picked out two  to give me the basic framework and assembled the rest of the ingredients I needed to make these unripe tomatoes into tasty chutney.

Green Tomato Chutney

Ingredients:

6 lbs. green tomatoes, cored and diced (substitute apples for all or part of the tomatoes if no green tomatoes are available)

3 large apples such as Pippins, (crisp, tart/sweet), chopped (omit these apples if you make chutney with apples in place of tomatoes)

2 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped

2 sweet bell peppers (red or yellow), seeded and chopped

1 small chile pepper, seeded and minced

2 gloves garlic, minced

1 whole lemon, seeded, chopped fine, including peel

1 3-to-4 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped fine

1.5 to 2 cups cider vinegar

2 to 2.5 cups brown sugar

1 Tbsp. mustard seed

1 Tbsp. coriander seed

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. chile flakes/crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cups raisins, black or golden or combination

Directions:

Combine tomatoes, apples, onions, bell pepper, chile pepper, garlic, lemon, ginger and 1.5 cups vinegar in large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Add 2 cups brown sugar, mustard seed, coriander seed, salt and chile flakes and simmer until tender about 45 to 55 minutes.

As chutney cooks, stir occasionally.  As it thickens, stir more frequently and keep a careful watch so it doesn’t scorch on the bottom.

Taste and adjust seasoning, adding vinegar or sugar as needed.  Add a little at a time.  It is easier to add an ingredient like vinegar than to subtract it if you add too much (speaking from experience). You are looking for a balance of tangy/sweet with the bits of ginger and lemon adding bright accents. If a more spicy relish is desired, increase the chile pepper and/or chile flakes.

Stir in the raisins and heat a few minutes to plump them up.  Stir often as raisins will stick to the bottom of the pot and burn easily (again, I speak from experience).  If this happens, call them caramelized and move on.

Ladle the hot chutney into sterilized half-pint  jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal and process in a water bath for 5 minutes.  There is a lot of information about canning here at the Ball Canning and Preserving website.  You can also skip the whole canning thing and store the chutney in the fridge.  But then you miss the joy of hearing the little pop as the lids seal.  Ahhh, what a satisfying sound!

Once I started eating the jar of chutney I saved for home, I wanted it with everything.  I’m at the bottom of a pint jar and starting to eye the jars that I have set aside to give as gifts.

Chutney is great with meats, curries, scrambled eggs, shaken up in a jar with olive oil, lemon juice and mustard as a salad dressing, stirred into yogurt to top vegetables (roasted cauliflower with yogurt and chutney), layered into sandwiches or spread with cream cheese on a cracker or toast.  It’s also fantastic with leftover turkey.

Thanks for the visit.

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