I have been canning and putting up things the last week off and on. I am specifically using a water bath canner so mostly tomatoes, pickles, and chutneys. I was first introduced to Chutney in Scotland. One of my all time favorites is a mango chutney at the local Indian Restaurant in Turriff, Aberdeenshire.
I have discovered that I do NOT like relishes but adore most chutneys if they are not spiced too hot. I am not quite sure what the difference is but a relish and chutney are NOT the same. I know the definition of a chutney is a fruit and vegetable combination, with spices and vinegar cooked for long periods to develop flavor and texture. They are highly spiced and have a sweet-sour blending of the flavors. Relishes are prepared using chopped fruits and/or vegetables cooked in a spicy vinegar solution. Sometimes sugar is added if a sweet relish is desired. Often hot pepper or other spices are added to flavor relish. I suppose the big difference is the sweet sour factor that the chutney has and the relish does not. As well as the extra long cooking for the blending of the flavors and spices. Any way you look at it, I like chutneys and do not like a relish!
The last two years I have had lost my tomato crop to the cold. Two days of cold frost this year and over 12 inches of snow last year. I suspect with my altitude and short growing season that this will happen every year. Both times, temperatures were back up in the 60-70’s within a few days but my tomato vines were in a brown dead dry frozen heap with literally HUNDREDS of little green tomatoes dead everywhere. Oh what to do??
I know what to do for the future. In fact, this recipe that I tried is so fantastic that a tomato will struggle to ever ripen on my ranch again as I will more than likely pick them as soon as they are decent size so I am make spiced Green Tomatoes. This recipe is courtesy of Jackie Clay who writes a lot for Back Woods Home Magazine. She has put out a collection of her recipes into several books. This recipe is specifically from “Growing and Canning Your Own Food” by Jackie Clay and is on page 108 -109. It is so fantastic that I even had a non tomato person try them, under protest mind you, and he liked them so well that he went back for more. The only thing I regret is not trying this recipe sooner so I could have known how wonderful they were. I would have harvested the 400+ tomatoes off my vines before they froze this year. Instead, my compost pile is tomato rich again this year and I only have a few jars to last me until next year. I will be lucky if I can make them last until Charlie is back here from the ship in a few weeks. I can easily sit down and eat the jar with a spoon.
Without further ado, here is her wonderful recipe.
Spiced Green Tomatoes
- 6 lbs. small whole green tomatoes
- 1 Pint white vinegar
- 4 lbs. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 Tbsp. Cloves
- 1/2 Tbsp. Allspice
Make a syrup of the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Drop in the whole tomatoes, with stems removed, and bring to a boil. Simmer until tomatoes become translucent. Pack tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Ladle boiling syrup over tomatoes, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.
I reproduced the recipe exactly how she had it. Any spelling errors were all mine. The changes I made were a much longer water bath time because I am at 7500 ft altitude. This you need to adjust for your altitude as the 15 min is at sea level. And I added in heavier cinnamon, allspice and cloves. I adore that combo of spices and the cabin smelled like Holidays.
I am going to use this same idea with these spices, change the green tomatoes out for some apples with a bit of pears, raisins, sultanas, currants, onions, red and yellow sweet peppers, garlic and other assorted stuff and make my own version of a Spiced Apple Pear Chutney in a few days. That should go very well and taste even better!