Yesterday I harvested any remaining tomatoes on the plants, most of them still quite green. I am hoping, if the rain holds off, to take out the plants today to make room for my new fall greens seedlings which are coming up quite rapidly in the sun room (escarole, Chinese cabbage, spinach, lettuce), as well as a few other things I need to sow directly like turnips. But for now this morning I am attempting to make green tomato chutney. This is my first attempt, both at making any kind of chutney, as well as at truly canning something (last year I did manage to preserve some plums in sugar solution, which I made into ice cream that didn't kill us, so I'm guessing I did do something right, but it was such a confused palaver that I feel it doesn't really count), in order to have not completely failed at that item on the self-sufficiency checklist. I read quite a few recipes, but I am pretty much winging it. This is what I did, so we will see how it actually turns out once it has matured!
Green Tomato Chutney
1 colander's worth of tomatoes
5 cloves garlic
Rosemary, thyme, fennel tops
1 apple, diced
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp nutmeg
200g/1 cup muscavado sugar
Several small onions (2-3 large), chopped roughly
300ml cider vinegar
2 thumbs (40g) fresh ginger, grated
125g sultana raisins
More fresh fennel top (1 sprig), chopped finely
Pick all the remaining tomatoes on the vines, wash and trim off any bad bits while also removing the top/core. Grease a roasting tray with olive oil and place the tomatoes cut side down on the tray along with any whole cherry tomatoes. Roughly chop 4-5 nice cloves of garlic and sprinkle among the tomatoes. Spread a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme and a little fennel over them, then drizzle olive oil and a few twists of salt and pepper over everything. Roast in the oven at 150°C (300°F) for at least an hour, or until you are able to pinch off the skins. Remove as much of the skin as possible (the rest can be skimmed out later), using tongs unless you have Teflon fingers, and take out the sprigs of herbs.
Take the larger tomatoes and chop them into smaller pieces, but leave a variety of sizes, including some good-sized chunks, then transfer all the remaining contents of the roasting tray to a large pot. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for a good long while (took me a couple of hours actually), stirring occasionally, then more frequently as it thickens, until you get to the right consistency (I think I remember from River Cottage you are supposed to be able to pull off a Mosaic-ish parting of the chutney seas, but mine was a little sloppier than this), picking out any remaining tomato skin while you go. While this is going on, sterilize your jars either in the oven or a hot water bath (I used the latter as that is how I did the final jars).
When you are ready to go (above picture still has a long time to simmer), pick out the cinnamon stick and the cloves, and take the jars out of the hot water, then fill the jars (leaving a bit of headspace) and seal. Return the jars to the sterilizing pot, making sure there is at least an inch of water over the top of them. Keep the water at a simmer for 10 minutes, then remove jars to cool at room temperature (then label with the contents and date). The chutney should be allowed to mature for at least a month, and if the jars are kept in a cool, dark place it should stay good for up to two years.
I used some pretty different quantities from most of the recipes I saw, notably a lot less on the raisins and the apple, but I think it turned out really tasty. Though I have to say, I'm not sure how a just-made chutney should taste in relation to a mature chutney! Also, this made four small jars, with a little left over, probably enough for a fifth jar actually, but only four fit in my sterilizing pot, so I think I will cook some chicken thighs in it for dinner tonight!