Just before the first frost, I scooped up all of the green tomatoes in the garden. I cut it close this year, honestly, due to a neck injury at work. I’ve been on light duty and I’m not allowed to lift or pull or reach or basically do anything normal. I broke the rules a little bit and picked the garden anyways. I’m not a good patient. My husband is exasperated with me already, trying to make me follow the doctor’s orders. Luckily, I’m making slow progress and hopefully this injury won’t keep me down for too long.
This injury has, however, allowed me the rare opportunity to get my creative juices flowing again. In a sense, it has forced me to slow down. Something I’m historically poor at doing. I have been doing a bit more cooking, experimenting, crafting, and painting. In part thanks to the injury, but part coping with the injury. Getting creative is my desperate attempt to feel a semblance of control over something. Admittedly, it only works temporarily, but for a brief moment I am immersed in whatever activity has called to me and I am far away from the pain, discomfort, and discord that my life has been thrown into. I’ll take it. Plus, it’s safer than pain killers, right?
Anyways, back to the tomatoes. After letting them sit around for a few weeks, about half of them are now red. Great. Except I have no room in my kitchen to wait for the rest to turn red and Thanksgiving is fast approach (you know, the olympics of cooking). After some hunting for pickling recipes, I stumbled upon a red and green tomato chutney thanks to a friend of mine. I tweaked the recipe she gave me for a little more heat and for bulk use (I have 13lbs of tomatoes to use up). Here is it:
Harvest Tomato Chutney
6lbs red and green tomatoes, quartered, skins on, separated by color
6 onions (medium), roughly chopped
2 cups raisins
1 Tbsp salt
2.5 Tbsp mustard seeds
2 chilis or 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
8 cups sugar
1L (32oz) white wine vinegar
- In a large, non-reactive pot (stainless steel, enameled, ceramic or the like), add green tomatoes, onions, raisins, salt, mustard seeds, chilis, sugar and vinegar.
- Cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot, 1 hour or until the tomatoes and onions soften and begin to break down.
- Add ripened tomatoes. Simmer until mixture cooks down to a thick, chunky sauce. Shoot for the consistency of jam.
- Spoon into sterilized jars and process 15 minutes. Makes about 8 pint jars. Feel free to half the recipe if you have fewer tomatoes!
This chutney is reminiscent of BBQ sauce, sweet and savory. Add to chicken or spoon over brie and bake. Goes great with cheese and meats! Also makes great gifts!