First batch of green tomato chutney this year.

So I started, one of the baskets from previous post was 4 kg so the recipe is as follows (for variations see previous chutney post).

4.4 kg green tomatoes
1.2 kg onions
1.3 kg small apples
70g fresh root ginger chopped very small
2 pints vinegar
50g chilli powder
500g sultanas
1kg sugar
2 tsp salt

I have shown the method in pictures. For more detail see previous post. This batch made 20 jars in a selection of sizes.

Chopping the tomatoes first

Chopping the tomatoes first

The tomatoes and onions are in the pan, now the apples, this year half from my trees, sharp and half from my inlaws trees, sweet, 1.3 kg down to just over a kilo peeled and cored, you could of course leave the peel on.

The tomatoes and onions are in the pan, now the apples, this year half from my trees, sharp and half from my inlaws trees, sweet, 1.3 kg down to just over a kilo peeled and cored, you could of course leave the peel on.

All "veg" in the pan, I put on the heat when I'd finished the onions.

All “veg” in the pan, I put on the heat when I’d finished the onions, the ginger is in too.

Stir it all up and add the vinegar. Up to that point it had taken one hour.

Stir it all up and add the vinegar. Up to this point it had taken one hour.

After about half an hour simmering, added all the rest of the ingredients and stirred. Keep stirring every 10-15 minutes to stop it sticking too badly to the bottom of the pan.

After about half an hour simmering, add all the rest of the ingredients and stir. Keep stirring every 10-15 minutes to stop it sticking too badly to the bottom of the pan.

After about half an hour with everything in.

After about half an hour with everything in.

After two hours of simmering it's a deep orange/red. I used 50g of chilli this time, I think it's a bit hot, but as it will fade with age (who doesn't!) I'm not bothered.

After two hours of simmering it’s a deep orange/red. I used 50g of chilli this time, I think it’s a bit hot, but as it will fade with age (who doesn’t!) I’m not bothered, no molasses in the cupboard this year so it’s not as dark as usual.

Messy jars, with jug and jam funnel, as you can see I'll use any old jar, some are on their 4th or 5th use.

Messy jars, with jug and jam funnel, as you can see I’ll use any old jar, some are on their 4th or 5th use.

Cleaned lidded and ready to label. The last bit that wouldn't fit in a jar on a plate, really quite pokey this year!

All cleaned with a damp cloth, especially the thread of the jars, lidded and ready to label. The last bit that wouldn’t fit in a jar on a plate, really quite pokey this year!

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colour around the garden

Feeling a little glum last week through two days of grey and rain, the sun came out so I decided to look for some colour in the garden to cheer me up. It worked for a little while at least, in between trying to get my head around my newly discovered menopause symptoms and lamenting the rude health of teachers these days! (Hence little supply work) Here is a sample of what I saw, from porch to porch again!

The photos I have shrunk very small for speed, if anyone is interested I’ll happily send proper full size ones by email, just comment by clicking on the speech bubble at the top of the post.

our climbing hydrangea has been in the ground ages, on a north facing wall, but only just coming into it's own since we cut down the pussy/goat willow that was cramping it

our climbing hydrangea has been in the ground ages, on a north facing wall, but only just coming into it’s own since we cut down the pussy/goat willow that was cramping it

more cosmos and my "house" plants relegated to the porch in winter getting their summer sun, as soon as the first frosts are likely they go in, though there is a massive hole in the porch roof so it's only just frost free!

cosmos and my “house” plants relegated to the porch in winter getting their summer sun, as soon as the first frosts are likely they go in, though there is a massive hole in the porch roof so it’s only just frost free!

sweet peas, sown this spring and doing well, I gave some to a friend she put them against a fence in a very unpromising slither of ground and they are still flowering and ten feet tall

sweet peas, sown this spring and doing well, I gave some to a friend she put them against a fence in a very unpromising slither of ground in a small back yard and they are still flowering and ten feet tall

these troughs have had pansies in since last november, they were getting a bit ragged so I cut them back and put in some lobelia and allysum in July or August, the pansies are still there under the canopy of blue and white

these troughs have had pansies in since last November, they were getting a bit ragged so I cut them back and put in some trailing lobelia and alyssum in July or August, the pansies are still there under the canopy of blue and white

annual linaria I sowed this late and thought nothing would happen then all of a sudden purple

annual linaria I sowed this late and thought nothing would happen then all of a sudden purple

along a fence, hazel and forsythia mainly wow what a pink

along a fence, hazel and forsythia mainly, wow what a pink

these tubs have bedding plants left over from last year and still going (though maybe not strong!)

these tubs have bedding plants left over from last year and still going (though maybe not strong!) overwintered in the poly tunnel, I open the doors to save the brassicas going mouldy but to keep the worst of the weather off, some very tender things get a wrap of fleece in the very cold weeks

cosmos hanging on, I've seen a lot of cosmos around this year, unfortunately mine are all on the pale pink side this year, oh well next year more bright pinks I hope, lobelia still hanging on too

cosmos hanging on, I’ve seen a lot of cosmos around this year, unfortunately mine are all on the pale pink side, oh well next year more bright pinks I hope, a lighter blue lobelia still hanging on too

berries galore on the cotoneaster horizontalis growing on a steep sandy west facing bank

berries galore on the cotoneaster horizontalis growing on a steep sandy west facing bank

rosehips on the long hedge, see earlier post on pruning this monster!

rosehips on the long hedge, see earlier post on pruning this monster!

and a close up of the red oak, I have laminated the leaves for Christmas cards, the colour lasts wonderfully

a close up of the red oak (also below) not fully scarlet yet, I have laminated the leaves for Christmas cards in previous years, the colour lasts wonderfully

a pair of ashes one has lost nearly all and the other hardly any of it's leaves, massive hazel on the left and a small red oak on the right

looking over what we laughingly call our wildflower meadow, a pair of massive ashes one has lost nearly all and the other hardly any of it’s leaves, massive hazel on the left and a small red oak on the right

lime green feverfew still flowering, how does it do it? One of our two hens, bronze, they always follow me around the garden when I'm outside, waiting to massacre the worms I disturb

lime green feverfew still flowering, how does it do it? With one of our current “flock” of two hens, bronze, they always follow me around the garden when I’m outside, waiting to massacre the worms I disturb

I'd forgotten I planted these asters (I presume) years ago hadn't noticed any flowers before, but the dogwood has kind of taken over as it does

I’d forgotten I planted these asters (I presume) years ago hadn’t noticed any flowers before, but the dogwood has kind of taken over as it does

weird, winter jasmine usually flowers in January... alongside a mallow, flowering very late indeed

weird, winter jasmine usually flowers in January… alongside a mallow, flowering very late indeed

dogwood's berries are not often mentioned but the large bunches are easy to see from a distance

dogwood’s berries are not often mentioned but the large bunches are easy to see from a distance before the leaves fall and you see the red stems

the one lovely pink hollyhock fell over onto the grass, careful with the lawnmower

the one lovely pink hollyhock fell over onto the grass, careful with the lawnmower

weird, honesty flowering very late alongside some seed pods from this summers flowers!

weird, honesty flowering very late alongside some seed pods from this summers flowers!

evening primrose and white hollyhocks

evening primrose and white hollyhocks lovely tall things next to our border with the “highways” yard

runner beans still flowering and producing lovely beans, we keep waiting for them to run out, but no! a carrier bag full every other day since mid August, as you can imagine I've given loads away, any tips on how to freeze well I have in previous years tried blanching or not but always soggy and grey when defrosted.

runner beans still flowering and producing lovely beans, we keep waiting for them to run out, but no! a carrier bag full every other day since mid August, as you can imagine I’ve given loads away, any tips on how to freeze them well? I have in previous years tried blanching or not but they are always soggy and grey when defrosted.

elderberries, the pigeons have usually finished them by now, in previous years TOPCOE has made elderberry and clove cordial, yummy

elderberries, the pigeons have usually finished them by now, in previous years TOWPCOE has made elderberry and clove cordial, yummy

the hawthorn has gone mad this year, never seen so many berries

the hawthorn has gone mad this year, never seen so many berries

honeysuckle has been flowering for so long, started early, finishing late, we have loads of lovely berries on it too

honeysuckle, planted next to an old hawthorn stump, it has been flowering for so long, it started early, finishing late, we have loads of lovely berries on it too, the stump collapsed earlier this year, the honeysuckle doesn’t seem to be bothered though it’s big enough to support itself in a large mound

our apples are often all green, with the long warm summer we have a hint of red, anyone got a cure for the black blotches... calcium? magnesium? iron?

our apples are often all green, with the long warm summer we have a hint of red, anyone got a cure for the black blotches… calcium? magnesium? iron?

cayenne peppers ripening in the poly tunnel

cayenne peppers ripening in the poly tunnel

a hardy fuscia, planted just in front of the poly tunnel door

a hardy fuscia, planted just in front of the poly tunnel door

seed head from a cranesbill (native geranium)

seed head from a cranesbill (native geranium)

Cheating I moved this into the porch the other day, the white stuff (a common bedding plant) survived from last year

Cheating I moved this pelagonium into the porch the other day it and the white stuff (a common bedding plant – Bacopa I think) survived from last year

Green Tomato Chutney

small chutneyFollowing a phone call with my sister where we talked about tomato blight and what to do with the fruits themselves she commented that she’d like to make some chutney. I make it every year as there are always tomatoes that won’t ripen, and those plants that have been struck by blight are less likely to ripen, in my experience anyway, what happens is that the green tomatoes develop yellowy brownish blotches, so I try to make the chutney before I lose to many to the manky blight.

The recipe I have developed over the years originally came from Keith Floyd on the BBC website, after looking through a load I chose this one as it was the most straightforward. My Green Tomato Chutney variations have been well praised so here is the basic recipe and tips from my 10 or so batches.

The picture shows the sweet version on the left, hot on the right and on the plate.

GREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY the basic quantities

2kg green tomatoes roughly chopped, I often take out the white “core” from where the tomato was attached to the plant, especially in Marmande toms where it is often large, with cherry toms I just chuck them in whole.
500g apples cored and roughly chopped, I have used various varieties over the years sometimes free from friends (or from my trees when they produce any!) and once or twice I have bought cooking apples, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the taste, you may want to use slightly more sugar if using cooking apples.
625g onions chopped, I have used home grown or bought.
8-10 chillies and 15g root ginger, I have used lots of different spice variations see section below.
250g raisins or sultanas, I use the cheapest ‘no brand’ ones available around 85p for 500g, once I had started without checking I had all the ingredients and used some dates instead.
500g brown sugar, I have given up using brown sugar due to the expense, I add some molasses, which is all the good stuff left over from the refining process I usually add 1 dessertspoon of molasses.
570 ml malt vinegar, I again use the cheapest ‘no brand’ possible about 40p.
2 teaspoons salt.

Start with a very large pan, preferably not aluminium or enamel due to the acidic nature of the chutney. However I use a 10 litre (30 cm diameter 20 cm high) old aluminium catering pan, just don’t leave it longer in the pan than you need to.
Put in the chopped toms, onion and apple and turn on the heat (chop to a size appropriate for you, smaller size will take less time to cook and provide a more spreadable chutney, but will take longer to chop!) I often turn on the heat as I am still chopping, the green tomatoes can take ages to soften, add the vinegar when all the toms, onion and apple are in. After about half an hour add all the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved, cook gently and stir frequently until the chutney is the consistency you like. I usually do this for around 2 hours, but there is no set temperature as with jam, the chutney will thicken a little as it cools, so decide how you like yours-for sandwiches or as an accompaniment for main meals.
The house does end up smelling vinegary and spicy.
About 1/4 of an hour before it will be ready put some jars, (about 20 clean preused jars of various sizes) on a baking tray in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius. Keep the lids separate and make sure they are clean and dry. It’s better to have too many than too few jars, if using kilner type jars take the rubber seal off before putting in the oven.
Turn off the heat and leave for a few minutes, use a jug to scoop out some chutney and a jam funnel if you have one to fill the jars to about 1cm below the rim of the jars. When you have used it all up use a very clean wet cloth to wipe any spills away, especially from the screw thread on the jars. Screw on the lids tightly and leave the jars to cool if the lids have a pop up section in the middle that should pop in as the jars cool, if some don’t do that use them first as the seal will not be as good. Label, (it’s amazing how quickly one forgets which recipe was used or the year it was made!) A  well sealed jar should last for many years, if reusing jars the lids can sometimes deteriorate especially if they have been used several times, watch out for signs of rust.

SPICES

I have variously used whole or ground chilli, TOWPCOE loves the hot versions to which I add lots of chilli.

Sometimes I have used a range of spices, I personally don’t like cinnamon very much so don’t use it. The smell of the bubbling mixture will give you an idea of the finished taste (except for chilli which is tricky to judge), so do experiment with flavours you like.

Most of my batches have been just ginger and chilli, chop the ginger finely, I have usually doubled the amount of ginger. For a hot version I have used 10-12 teaspoons of powdered chilli, but different batches of chilli will have different heats so it is quite tricky to work out how much to use.

Hot chutneys will fade in heat over time, so don’t worry if you add too much chilli it will be edible at some point!

A sweet one from last year which went down well with my sister had…

125g extra sultanas,

almost twice as much sugar which was probably a little excessive, try 750g,

1 tsp hot chilli powder

10g ground coriander

20g mustard seeds

20g ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

and an extra large dessertspoon of molasses.

Another spicy version…

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp chilli

3 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

and some orange zest and juice.