This year my veggie patch didn’t seem to have produced much. The drought that hit much of the US, also hit my backyard. I tried my best to water the saplings but even then they didn’t grow well and the produce was quite feeble. In past years I have at least managed to get a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers out of the little patch but somehow this year even those didn’t do well. My backyard is weirdly shaped and a huge chunk of it is a lot higher than the level at which the house is situated. The vegetable patch is on the upper level of the backyard and I have to go up several flights of steps to get to it. This year because I was so disappointed with my “crop”, I got lazy about climbing up to the upper deck of the yard to check on the plants. Now that fall is here, yesterday I went up to the upper deck to rake the leaves and to my surprise, I discovered that there were several green tomatoes that were still on the vines. Of course, they were not going to ripen this late in the year and I knew that if I left them any longer, the squirrels would get to them before I could. So I picked them and decided to make a chutney out of them. Much of today was spent in making this chutney and canning it in little jars. I combined the tart green tomatoes with a couple of apples and maple syrup to get a thick chutney-like consistency out of them. My sister had gifted me with a very special bottle of maple syrup (which is aged in casks that have originally held bourbon in them). This syrup added an additional layer of complex flavor to the chutney! If you can’t find this syrup, I am sure any Grade A maple syrup would do just as well!
1. 2.5 -3.0 lbs of Green tomatoes
2. 2 tart apples (I used Jona Gold but Granny Smith would be equally good)
3. One medium yellow onion
4. 1/2 cup of sugar
5. 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
6. ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
7. 2 teaspoons of red chili flakes
8. 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
9. ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
10. 1 inch long fresh ginger root
11. Zest of one lemon
12. ½ cup maple syrup
13. 2 teaspoons of Panch Phoron (an Indian spice mix readily available at all Indian/South Asian stores. Wiki link – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panch_phoron)
14. 2 teaspoons of Anise seeds
15. 10 all-spice seeds
16. 1/3 cup of dried cranberries
17. 1/3 cup of golden raisins
18. 2 teaspoons of salt (or more if needed)
1. Wash the green tomatoes and set them aside.
18. Now add the maple syrup and stir again. At this stage taste for salt and pepper and adjust according to your taste. The chutney should have a good balance of sweet, tart and savory. Continue to cook on low heat for another 4-5 minutes and stir regularly. Turn the flame off.
19. In a small sauce pan, add the remaining amount of extra virgin olive oil and heat it on medium heat.
21. When the chutney has cooled down, put it in small canning jars and follow the canning directions. You can store these jars for up to 4-5 months (if sealed properly). They make perfect gifts as well!
22. Serve this spicy sweet and sour chutney with any creamy cheese (I used Boursin), crackers and a summer sausage. You can also use it as a chutney with a roast pork tenderloin or with a baked turkey (in place of cranberry sauce).