Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cooking With Frank: Green Tomato Chutney

That's right, back out's another food-cooking related entry.

We've been in a lot of pain the last couple of days. Despite the pain the work must go on, the garden doesn't stop needing attention just because we hurt. Yesterday we added 13 more quarts of canned stewed tomatoes to our long list of summer accomplishments, while resting our elbows on the sink to ease the back pain, as we peeled the skins off of them. The day before we made a 1/2 gallon of sauce, but too achy to  can it, we decided we'd just eat a whole lotta things with tomato sauce this week.

It's a good thing we have a passion for tomatoes.

Today we took to the green tomatoes that The Mother left for us to "do something with" and made another batch of Green Tomato Chutney. The first time was an experiment, we had little clue what to expect or do with it, but this past week we spread some on home-made bread and added a slice of Provolone cheese...and magic was created.

Deciding it's something we can really take advantage of from both a nutrient perspective, and a food conservation perspective; as we prepare for a lean year working on a renovation, investing much of our money in that; we set about making another batch for canning today.

But why green tomatoes after all the red ones we've been elbow deep in through the summer.

Each year as Fall harvest edges closer, and frost threatens what remains in the garden, there are always tomatoes on the vine that won't have time to ripen, also, during the growing season plants get weighed down with too many of the fruits, in general, so it's a good way to prune them back, and also doesn't waste anything.

Traditionally green tomatoes have been used for mincemeat, a preserve made with green tomatoes, apples, raisins, spices (like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, etc.), sugar....some have ginger, or cranberries, or other dried fruits, which is then simmered down to a nice jammy consistency. It's very good with plain, unsweetened yogurt, or in pies and pastries, on ice cream..and if you want a yummy, gooey spoon of something sweet and full of vitamins, just to get a sweet fix. It works for that too.

Mincemeat goes back to the 11th century. It's a food that went out of style at least by the 1960's in the United States - but you can probably find it on the rare grocery store shelf in certain areas of the United States (and likely several in Europe). We remember both our Grandmother's making it at some point, probably even The Mother made it.
Mincemeat is a great "depression time" or "poor" food, because it promotes not wasting food, and taking advantage of what you have. For example if you have an apple tree with tart apples that are a little too tart to eat, or you can't eat them fast enough...and/or you have dried fruits that are too dry to be very palatable kicking around, you can make a mincemeat, and you won't have to throw out food.

But wait, we're making Green Tomato Chutney, which is a term used for a mixture of spices, fruits/vegetables cooked down together (it originates from the Middle East and Southern Asia) into a jam-like consistency, and is usually a great condiments for meats, cheeses, crackers, sandwiches...whatever your creative mind can think of.

This recipe is OUR recipe, created this summer, so we'll go ahead and throw 'Frank' at the front of it.

*Warning* this recipe is spicy. Omit jalapeños and decrease chili flakes to make it milder.

Frank's Green Tomato Chutney
8 cups (2 litres) green tomatoes, chopped
4 cups (1 litre) yellow onions, chopped
2 jalapeños, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt, or 1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil, extra virgin (good quality)

Sauté onions with oil in large heavy sauce pan, add salt and garlic and continue to sauté until onions are translucent. Add the jalapeños and cook for about 2 minutes then add green tomatoes and the following ingredients:

1 1/2 (350 ml) cups brown sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) ground ginger
1 Tbsp (15 ml) mustard seeds
1/4 cup (60 ml) chili flakes
pinch of allspice
1 cup (250 ml) vinegar

Simmer all ingredients until thick. Can for later use using the hot water bath method (makes about 5-6 pints). If storing un-canned in refrigerator for "immediate" use, use within a week to a week and a half.

Process Gallery:

Green tomato                 |              Chopped onions

Jalapeños (the ones from the garden cross pollinated somehow
with the green peppers, so they became larger than average.
We only fell for their trick twice, eating them raw, before we figured
out what had happened)

With all the spices added.

Left: Before simmer           |           Right: After simmer

This recipe is great as a sandwich spread, or in quesadillas, or with corn chips. Also good in rice with chicken.

More of our food entries from the last two years, with food porn..if you're into that kind of thing. (some contain recipes)

Food & Cooking

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