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We had a cold summer here in Portland – the coldest in 17 years.  Tomatoes, cold weather and rain are not a very good combination.  Unless you had your tomato plants in a warm microclimate spot (or wrapped in Saran Wrap most of the summer like one of my wise neighbors) you, like me, are now faced with a bumper crop of green tomatoes. Now I hear that fried green tomatoes are tasty – but this is a preserving blog and fried green tomatoes don’t keep well in the pantry over the winter so I needed another solution.

Once again Darina Allen came to my rescue.  Ireland (Darina’s home base) has many of the same weather issues as Portland – so her Forgotten Skills of Cooking book had several recipes for preserving green tomatoes.  I selected the green tomato chutney recipe.  Our household has a serious homemade chutney addiction (to the point that we cannot eat store-bought anymore).  Our go-to (we really don’t feel like cooking) meal is to brown organic ground turkey, add in loads of chopped vegetables (cabbage, mushrooms and peppers being our choice) and once close to done throw in a 1/2 pint of chutney and heat through until everything is cooked.  Homemade chutney makes this 10 minute meal amazing.

This chutney recipe is fairly standard – lots of chopping followed by a long simmer with good smells.  I made a few changes given what I had in my pantry; substituting a combination of apple cider/white vinegar for the white wine vinegar and brown sugar for turbinado sugar.

Recipe – adapted from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking (made 5 1/2 pints)

2 1/4 pound chopped green tomatoes

2 1/4 pound peeled and chopped cooking apples

1 pound onions – chopped

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 3/4 cup brown sugar

1 pound golden raisins

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

3 smashed garlic cloves

1 tablespoon salt

3 cups vinegar

Put all ingredients into a large non-reactive pot and bring to a boil over med heat.  Turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes – stirring constantly.  Ladle into clean sterile jars.  Process in water-bath canner for 15 minutes.

Welcome peaches...now get in my belly

 

I try to eat seasonally – so when a long missed friend arrived at the farmers market  I was just giddy.   Beautiful Yakima peaches were on center stage Sunday morning.  I didn’t think I got that late of a start – but I hung around the house to watch the final stage of the Tour de France.  The market opens at 9am – I got there at 9:20am and by the time I made my way to the peaches they were already picked over by the non-TdF fan set – guess I wasn’t the only one excited to see them.     

Four pounds of peeled and chopped peaches - ok so not all of them made it into the bowl

 

Despite the lack of firm unblemished options, I couldn’t resist and picked up a several of pounds of on the verge of being overripe peach goodness.  I knew these babies were not going to last long; they barely made the trip home intact.  When I loaded up my bag at the market I actually thought I would have a day or so to figure out what to make with them – by the time I got them home I realized I didn’t.     

Settling in for a long simmer

 

A quick scan of the pantry turned up 3 large boxes of golden raisins (left over from a shopping list gone wrong), a bag of onions, spices and garlic…so my brain immediately thought chutney.  Actually spicy peach chutney – the type that makes your entire house smell like an indian spice market.  I adapted the spicy peach chutney recipe from All Recipes.  My adjustments were to reduce the amount of crystalized ginger slightly (not a fan) and to increase (slightly) the amount of curry powder, garlic and onion.   

The pile of spices - adjust to your tastes

 

This recipe takes time.  There is a fair amount of peeling and chopping prep.  Once you have your chutney assembled and simmering – it needs additional time to cook down; actually lots of time – 1 1/2 to 2 hours worth of time.  This is not a leave it to its own devices sort of recipe – you need to stir frequently during the cooking period to avoid scorching.  My suggestion, load in a good long movie into the dvd and settle in for the afternoon.  I made this batch of chutney while watching Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers.  Everything was peeled, chopped and ground up by Gandalf the White’s reveal and battle of Helm’s Deep wrapped up about the same time as the chutney.  Your time will be well rewarded – this spicy sweet chutney goes well with poultry (making a wicked curried chicken salad) and pork.  Next up for this chutney – replacing tomato sauce on grilled pizza.   

The end result - will be seen on a slice of roasted chicken near you soon

 

Recipe (adapted from All Recipes’ Spicy Peach Chutney):   

4 pounds peaches – peeled and chopped   

4 cups apple cider vinegar   

4 cups brown sugar   

3 cloves minced garlic   

4 ounces candied ginger chopped   

1 cup golden raisins   

1 1/2 tablespoons of chili powder   

1 tablespoon of mustard seed   

2 teaspoons of curry powder   

one small onion chopped   

1/4 cup pickling spices – bundled in cheese cloth   

Combine all ingredients in large non-reactive stock pot.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook at a moderate simmer until desired consistency (1 1/2 to 2 hours) stirring frequently.  Ladle into clean glass jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Process for 10 minutes in boiling water canner.