Google+ Lilies and Laurel: Green Tomato and Tart Apple Chutney

Friday, October 19, 2012

Green Tomato and Tart Apple Chutney

Green Tomato and Tart Apple Chutney
Here's the recipe I talked about yesterday.  I combined and adapted several different recipes to make this chutney.  There was also an on-the-fly adjustment when I found that there wasn't actually a backup Costco-sized bag of raisins in the pantry!  If you're planning to make a smaller amount and use this right away, or to refrigerate it and eat it within a week or so, you can adapt this recipe as much as you want to.  If you're planning to can it, though, don't make too many changes, as the balance of fruit-to-acid-to-sugar is important.  Acid and sugar help keep nasty anaerobic things from multiplying in the jar while it sits in your cupboard.  If you get botulism from canned food, you don't look uncannily smooth and shiny, you mostly just look dead.  If you want to save this and you're not already an experienced canner, I highly recommend picking up a book on preserving, or talking to your local extension service before you try it.  OK, caveats in place, let's make chutney!

Makes 4-5 pints
2 lbs. green tomatoes, chopped
2 lbs. tart apples, cored and chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
4 cups raisins (either regular or golden)*
4 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons garam masala**
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups white vinegar

*I only had a cup of raisins, and it turned out fine-- it just has to cook down a little longer, because the raisins aren't there to absorb as much of the liquid.

**This is a spice blend, frequently used in Indian cooking, and the ingredients vary significantly.  If you're making your own for this, I'd suggest at least a teaspoon each of ginger, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, cumin and cinnamon.

***The primary recipe I used called for 2 Tablespoons of salt! That's a ridiculous amount for this recipe. I still used it, because I just wasn't thinking it through, and it's way too salty.  Next time, I'm starting with 1 teaspoon, and then adding more toward the end of cooking if it needs it.

Add the chopped onion to a 6 quart pan, and turn the burner on low.  Let it cook slowly, stirring occasionally, while you chop the other ingredients.  The onions are best if they're slightly caramelized.

When the onions are done, add all the other ingredients.  Bring the liquid to a boil, then turn it down to keep it at a simmer. Leave the pot uncovered, and cook the chutney for 2-3 hours, until it's thick and jammy. During the early part of the cooking process, you'll only need to stir a few times an hour.  As it cooks down, you'll need to stir more frequently, and make sure you scrape the bottom, or else it will stick and burn.

Chutney cooking at (L-R) 45 minutes, 2 hours, 3 hours

If you're planning to can it, sterilize your jars and get your other equipment together during the last hour of cooking.  Get it into the jars right away and follow the manufacturer's instructions for hot-pack canning.  If you're going to refrigerate it, let it cool to room temperature before you package it.  You might even consider freezing it, though that may alter the texture unpleasantly.  Let me know how it turns out!