Green Tomatoes – Two Ways

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During half time we went and spent some time at my parents house, which is hidden away in the depths of the Sussex countryside. Life slows down and allows you to become at one with nature. I love living in the city and am not the type to rush out to rolling green hills at every opportunity, but that said now and again it really does ones soul the world of good. Breathing in fresh air, getting properly muddy and having walks in the woods. Also if the truth be told I love my folks wood burning fire that warms the house and wafts woody smells throughout.

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My mother is Mrs green fingers and has an enviable vegetable patch, which supplies my father and her with bountiful crops of endless vegetables and fruit. She has been overrun with green tomatoes this year and had a couple of troughs full sitting in her pantry so I asked if I could take one to make into a chutney and a relish back in London.

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The result has been pleasing and I wanted to share both recipes with you. They are perfect to bring out with pretty much any cold meat, especially any type of pork product.

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The photo above and below are of the cucumber and green tomato relish.

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Green tomatoes are simply tomatoes that have not ripened in the sun. Change in weather can mean that some of your crop just aren’t able to make the transition from green to red. That said you can bring the whole plant inside and there are ways to help them turn red – see here for tips, but my mother had already picked the remaining tomatoes, most of which were green.

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To eat raw, whilst still green, would not be advisable as they are tart, however by cooking and making into a chutney or relish brings them into their own and sweetens them enough to make a fabulous little preserve.

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Both recipes require a fair amount of chopping so if you can gather in helpers that will certainly speed up the laborious part of the preparation.  The above photo shows the layered vegetables in the colander sprinkled with salt – they leave them like this overnight.

The photo below is the pickling spice that is used in the chutney but not the relish!  I have made my own pickling spice – you can add whatever you fancy, but I decided upon bay leaves, green cardamom, black mustard seeds, dried chillies, whole cloves, cinnamon bark, allspice and peppercorns.

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Once you have made either the relish or chutney – or both, once sealed in jars, leave to rest in a dark, cool place for a couple of weeks for the chutney and 1 week for the relish. The chutney will last longer – around a year, whilst the relish should be eaten within 6 months. Once open store in the fridge and eat with in a couple of weeks.

Both recipes below I have adapted from ‘The Complete Book of Preserves & Pickles’ by Catherine Atkinson and Maggie Mayhew

Green Tomato Chutney

makes approx 8 jars. I mainly use Wares of Knutsford 250ml Mason jars

2.3 kg green tomatoes, chopped

600g cooking apples, chopped – cored and peeled

600g onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1.5 tbsp salt

1 small muslin bag full of pickling spice (see below)

800ml cider vinegar

600g granulated sugar

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Pickling spice

1/2 tsp allspice

2 bay leaves

3 green cardamom pods

1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 inch piece of cinnamon bark, broken into pieces

4 cloves

5 peppercorns

2 dried red chilli

1 small piece of muslin cloth

some string

You can also add dried ginger, cassia, coriander seeds

1. After roughly chopping all the tomatoes, apples, onions and garlic place them in a large pan (or two if you need to) and add the salt. Add the muslin full of pickling spice, securely tied, along with half the vinegar and bring to the boil.

2. Once it has reached boiling point, reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour stirring at regular intervals to aid with the softening of the ingredients.

3.  In a separate pan add the remaining cider vinegar and sugar and gently heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Once this has happened pour into the main pan and give a good stir. The chutney needs a further hour and a half to simmer and become thick.

4. In the last half hour of number 3. wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and then place in a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 110 degrees and then let the jars and lids (do not place the lid on the jar) sterilise for 30 mins.

5. Once the jars and lids have sterilised and the chutney has become thick remove the muslin and then spoon the hot chutney into the warm jars and seal. I find this wide neck funnel, immensely useful during this process as it means I keep the rims of the jars clean. I tend to put a waxed disc on top (was side down), although I think with the two piece gold disc and screw band lid it is probably not necessary.

6. Label and store in a cool dark place and leave to mature for a couple of weeks before opening. It will last for up to a year.

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Cucumber and Green Tomato Relish

Makes approx 5 jars

2 cucumbers, cubed 1cm

900g green tomatoes, cubed 1cm

4 onions, finely chopped

1.5 tsp salt

350ml white vinegar

150g demerara sugar

200g granulated sugar

1tbsp plain flour

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1.  Layer the cubed cucumber, green tomatoes and finely sliced onions in a colander placed over a bowl and sprinkle each layer with salt. Leave to drain for minimum 6 hours or overnight if you can.

2. Removing the salty liquid and place the vegetables in a large pan along with 320ml of the white vinegar. The remaining 30ml of white vinegar will be used later! Add both sugars to the pan and gently heat, stirring to allow the sugars to dissolve. Simmer gently for 40 minutes.

3. In a bowl add the flour, mustard powder and remanding white vinegar to form a paste and then add to the relish. Simmer for a further 20 mins or until the mixture is thick.

4. Similarly to point 4. in the instructions for the green tomato chutney, sterilise the jars and then spoon the contents of the relish into each one, remember to push the relish down firmly so that there are no air bubbles. Add the waxed disc, waxed side up (if using) and place the gold disc and screw top lid on top.

5. Store in a cool dark place for a week before using. Use within 6 months. Once opened store in the fridge and eat within a couple of weeks once opened.

3 thoughts on “Green Tomatoes – Two Ways

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