Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It's Gonna Be a Green (Tomato) Christmas

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I guess that now Hallowe'en has come and gone for yet another year, the next holiday on our Canadian agenda is the dreaded Christmas. Not that the event it'self is bad - I mean, I'm all for spreading goodwill and seeing family on occasion, but the over-commercialization of it, like so many other holidays, is kind of jading me. I always get the feeling that I'm a total failure when it comes to giving gifts - without any income (not for lack of trying!) I have two options each season: not giving anything (and using the "I'm poor" excuse), or concocting a homemade something and hitting the dollar store for a cheap card. Given the vast amount of foodie nervous energy (not to mention free time) I have kicking around, can you guess what I tend to go for?

This year my mom got in on the decision-making action. Once the weather made it abundantly clear that the season of bright, ripe tomatoes was over (and my mincemeat for the year was made and frozen), I continued with my general cheapskate nature when I found Nigel Slater's article on "Green Tomato Recipes", which featured not the typical fried green application for the unripe fruit but a chutney. When my mom found out that green tomato chutney existed (she loves the fried greenies) she kept suggesting that she would love to have a good chutney to stir into rice and stir-fries. Apparently, that's her preferred use for the preserve!. So I paired Slater's recipe with fellow blogger Lara Ferroni's, adapted from a Sur la Table book. I used the glut of apples and tomatoes we had, and finished the last three Vidalia onions we had in our wine cellar from a mid-summer's (odd, to me) fundraiser at my stepdad's work. Home-grown habaneros replaced the jalapenos, and a mixture of Thompson raisins and prunes stood in for currants. Lots of sweet and savoury spices filled the pot as well.

The resulting mix wound up sitting on the stove for much longer than any other recipe I've seen - over five hours on low heat - but the chutney aficionado gave it a lip-smacking seal of approval (right from the pot!) and suggested that "if I had time", sealed jars of the chutney would make excellent gifts for friends and family. Thankfully, we had a lot of canning supplies still around from the jamming days, and one thing we are not short of in any supply is family! A few hours later (most of it waiting for the canner to boil) I had twenty cups of chutney ready for dry storage, including two 500mL jars for the other two chutney fans we know (grandpa and my great uncle!). Along with the (as yet unblogged) tomato sauce and tomato jam and the aforementioned grape jam already in our pantry, I'd say I have ample gifting potential! So, be warned, if you know me and live nearby - get ready for a rather culinary innundation this holiday season!
 
Green Tomato and Apple Chutney
Makes about 20 cups, 80 quarter-cup servings
6 lb green tomatoes
5 lb apples
2 habaneros
3 onions
1 ½ cups Demerara sugar
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 packets stevia
3 tbsp honey
3 cups cider vinegar
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 ½ cups raisins
1/3 cup chopped prunes
3” fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp dry mustard
1 ½ tsp mustard seed
½ tsp cumin
Large pinch red pepper flakes
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
  1. Coarsely chop the tomatoes, apples, habaneros and onions (I used my handy-dady food processor). Combine with the remaining ingredients in a large stockpot.
  2. Cover, and simmer 3 hours.
  3. Remove the lid and simmer, stirring regularly, 2 – 2 ½ hours, until thick and saucy.
  4. Process in a water-bath canner 15 minutes if preserving, otherwise cool and refrigerate or freeze.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 69.5
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 93.0 mg
Total Carbs: 18.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 0.6 g 

1 comment :

David T. Macknet said...

I must say: we've made chutney and mincemeat from green tomatoes, and always regretted having made the chutney, 'cause that meant less micemeat. :)