Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Chutney making

A great way to use up a glut of homegrown green tomatoes is in the form of chutney. Chutney goes with cheese, sandwiches, cold meat, in burgers, with dinner...the options are endless. It can store really well too if it is prepared and sealed correctly. That way you can use your harvest throughout the year and even into next year.

Green Tomato Chutney
This makes around 7-10 medium sized jars.

· 2.5kg green tomatoes, roughly chopped (I used some red ones to bulk it up a bit)
· 500g onions, finely sliced
· 4 tsp / 30g salt
· 1L malt vinegar
· 500g soft light brown sugar
· 250g sultanas, roughly chopped
· 3 tsp / 20g ground pepper
· I prefer a bit of spice in chutneys so I added a little ground ginger and paprika also.

You will also need:
· Preserving pan or other large lidless pan
· 7 - 10 jars with lids
· Food wrap / cling film (to seal the jars)
· Sticky labels

Slice your onions and washed green tomatoes, cutting out any bad bits. Add to a large bowl and stir. Add the 4 teaspoons of salt, stir again and then cover with food wrap or a large plate and leave overnight. (Make sure you do this as it draws out the excess water from the tomatoes).
Once left overnight, Place the litre of vinegar into a large pan. Add the 500g of light brown soft sugar and stir over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved and bring to the boil. Roughly chop Sultanas and add them to the vinegar. Bring to a gentle boil. Drain the Tomato and Onion mixture (do not rinse!) and add to the vinegar mixture. Then add the pepper and any chosen spices you wish to add. Stir.

Once all the ingredients are in the pot, gently boil for 1-2 hours (stirring every now and then so it doesn't burn to the bottom) , until the chutney has thickened and has a golden appearance in colour. You will know that it is definitely done when you drag a wooden spoon down the middle of the chutney and you can see the bottom of the pan for at least 5-10 seconds.

Now is the time to get your jars ready and sterilized. Wash your jars thoroughly with hot water and soap. Then set your oven to a medium heat and place jars upside down in the oven for 5 minutes. They will be HOT to handle after five minutes so ensure you are wearing oven gloves.

Spoon the chutney into the sterilized jars (or use a jam funnel if you have one) and place two layers of cling film over the top of the jars (this acts as a seal). Allow to cool, add sticky labels saying what’s in the jar and when it was made, and place the lid on top.

You can either eat the Chutney now or allow the flavours to mature for a week or so.

-- Gemma Dray

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