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Green Tomato Chutney

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This recipe is a bit of a revelation for me. A real WHO AM I? moment. See, I’m not a chutney lover. Lime pickle with my curry? No thanks. I can barely handle green relish on a hot dog. I don’t even put cranberry sauce on my Turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I’ve always thought, “Would I put jam on a steak? No. So why would I put any other fruit on meat?” Sound logic, or so I thought.

Why then, am I making chutney with end-of-season green tomatoes? Why have I dragged out the mason jars and patiently seeded and chopped 6 cups of tart green tomatoes? Well, firstly: waste not, want not. It’s unlikely, with the drop in temperature this week that we will have adequate sun and heat in the next few weeks to ripen the last few tomatoes on the vine. And what do you do with a surplus of fruit? You can it (because you can). Secondly, I figured even if I didn’t like it, someone else would and either other people in the house would eat it or I could give it away to pro-meat+fruit friends or family. It wouldn’t go to waste, and I could spread the love. Again, seemingly sound logic.

When I set out to make this Rob was skeptical, knowing my general distaste for such condiments. He suggested we look up a recipe, but I was sure that I could taste my way to a great recipe, despite chutney not being my favourite thing. I’m really happy to say that I was right. It`s the chutney for non-chutney lovers! Not too sweet, not too heavily spiced yet warm flavoured and autumnal, it is a tangy, sweet and savory relish that goes brilliantly with many things. I’m a fan of it with roasted chicken. Or cheese. Or pork. Turkey? Fish? Eggs? I think this could be good on almost anything. Oooh! Slathered on brie and baked. I just thought of that one!

In fact, as I’m writing this, I just ate a spoonful, cold from the jar without any chaser. I don’t think these jars are going anywhere. Nope. Mine. Who have I become?

Green Tomato Chutney

makes 3 cups

This is a small, manageable size recipe. It may seem like a lot of work to can just 3 jars, but it does not take much time and is well worth it. Alternatively, you could double or triple the recipe easily. Experiment with different size jars, though unless you make this and it becomes your go-to condiment or you serve a large amount of it to a large crowd (Thanksgiving?), the 250 ml jar is a good size to get through within a few weeks of opening a sealed jar. Can’t get your hands on green tomatoes? Try tomatillos or even ripe tomatoes. 

6 cups seeded and finely chopped  green and/or under ripe tomatoes

1 cup finely chopped onion

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1-1″ piece of ginger, peeled and grated

½ C maple syrup

¼ C apple cider vinegar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp allspice

2 Tbsp salt

In a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, cook the tomato, onion, garlic and ginger, stirring frequently until softened. do not brown. Add remaining ingredients and reduce the heat and continue to cook at a simmer , uncovered, stirring often, until mixture is very well cooked and reduces in volume by ½, about 30-40 minutes.  The mixture should be moist and jammy, not dry but also not fully liquid.

While the chutney is cooking, prepare your canning jars. Place three 250 ml mason jars, and their snap lids  into a large pot of boiling water. Sterilize the jars for 10 minutes. Remove them from the water with tongs and place on paper towels to dry. Be sure not to handle the underside of the lids or rims of the jars. Fill the still hot jars with the hot chutney. Tap the bottoms of the jars on the counter to encourage any trapped pockets of air to escape. Lid them and apply the sealing rings. Do not over tighten. Turn them to “finger tight”  — well closed but not cranked fully tight. Submerge the  filled jars in the boiling water again and process for 20 minutes. Remove and allow to rest and cool. As the jars cool you will hear them seal – a distinct pinging sound. If the jars do not seal you will not hear the “ping” and the lid will still be flexible. A sealed jar lid won’t yield when you push on it because it is sucked down tight.

Your chutney is now shelf-stable for up to a year. Once you open a jar, keep it refrigerated and consume it within a few weeks.

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