Tuesday, April 20, 2010
I tend to think of green tomatoes as being an end-of-season treat, a treat borne out of necessity to rescue what's left of the crop from blight, or frost....or both. Kind of like the gardener's way of making lemons out of lemonade. But here in California, we see the occasional box of green tomatoes at our farmers' market year-round. Though I'm from the south...okay, I was born there, but moved shortly thereafter...I'd never tried them and really had no idea what I'd do with them if I brought them home. And frankly, I have no real desire to try the ubiquitous fried green tomatoes of my native Alabama. (I think the word "fried" is a big turn-off for me.)
But there they were on Sunday, a huge, huge box of them....and for only a dollar a pound. I couldn't resist and thought that perhaps I could whip up a batch of green tomato chutney. My aunt's GT chutney is apparently the stuff of legends, but as usual, I was too impatient to get her recipe and forged ahead with my own. How hard could it be?
I'm pleased to report that it's not hard at all. In fact, it's pretty darn easy. And I'm certain that my recipe has propelled me well on my way to becoming a legend....in my own mind, at least. Like my Tomato Chili Jam recipe, this one is sour and sweet, with a pleasant kick that burns the lips. I think it would be great scooped onto some lamb chops, but failing that, we spread it on some broken bits of pita chips I dug out of the pantry. And we licked it straight off of the spoon....and out of the pot. It will be fun devising even more ways to use this gold-in-a-jar. And Aunt Bettie, I'd still like to have your recipe too. I'll bet it's at least as good. (Probably even better...)
Green Tomato Chutney
Serve this sweet, sour and spicy chutney on a cheese plate, spread it on a sandwich, or spoon it over lamb. I'm sure you'll find many uses for this tantalizing treat.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 1/2 hours
Yield: 2 pints
6 cups of chopped green tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup golden raisins (sultanas)
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1-2 teaspoons chili flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1. Place all ingredients in a large dutch oven and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until chutney is thick and golden brown in color.
2. While chutney is simmering, wash canning jars in hot, soapy water and then place on a baking sheet in your oven (pre-heated to 280 degrees) for 20 minutes to sterilize them.
3. Bring a pasta cooker (with strainer) or canning pot filled with water to a boil.
4. Remove jars from oven, and using a canning funnel, fill to within 1/4 inch of the rim with the hot chutney. Wipe rims and lids with vodka, cover with lids, secure bands and process for 15 minutes in boiling water. Listen for the tell-tale "ping" to assure jars are sealed tightly. Any jars that are not properly sealed should be refrigerated and consumed within a couple of weeks.