green tomato chutney

green tomato chutney

october 10, 2012

The last of the tomatoes are on the vine.  Time to rescue them before they fall victim to frosty nights.  I have friends who swear that late season green tomatoes will eventually turn crimson if you patiently watch over them on your windowsill.  This offers fleeting pleasure and tests patience.  Why not enjoy green tomatoes throughout the cold weather months in the form of a spicy chutney?  Green tomato chutney can be both down home and elegant, enlivening hot and cold appetizers, salad dressings and grilled meats and seafood.  It makes a terrific sandwich spread, elevating simple cold cuts and cheeses to the sublime.  When unexpected company arrives, you can impress with a snack of green tomato chutney, creamy cheese and a base of flatbread, crackers or slices of toasted baguette.



Indian cuisine is notable for pairing vibrant chutneys with savory dishes, usually offering contrast to the predominant flavors of the main course.  Chutneys can be made with fresh ingredients like mint or cilantro for a spritely kick or long cooked and generally with a sweet and sour vibe like apple pear or mango chutney.  The latter types reflect the influence of colonial British rule, where the condiment most associated with the word chutney , green mango, was placed at the table to offset the spicy heat of native Indian fare.  For my personal chef service, The Good Eats Company, chutneys show up on the menus year round, reflecting what’s best for the season.  Thus, rhubarb red currant in spring, ginger peach in summer, apple pear in fall and cranberry walnut in winter.  I pair them with relatively unadorned entrees like sesame parmesan chicken, cornmeal fried catfish or grilled steaks, elevating the side sauce to star status and ensuring that clients can also use any left for sandwiches.

Most folks are familiar with the classic treatment of green tomatoes ; any restaurant hoping to exude bonafide southern charm will offer fried green tomatoes as a starter, typically with a mayonnaise based sauce and occasionally with that other southern gem pimento cheese.  Crafting chutney from this green fruit renders it tender and less tart -the texture is akin to cooked apple and the flavor superb.  This recipe makes a condiment which keeps well in your fridge for months, as long as you use clean utensils  and refrigerate after removing portions.  Chutneys are variously flavored with onions, garlic, fresh and candied ginger and all manner of dried spices including peppercorns and the seeds of cumin, cardamom and fennel.  Nigella, or black onion seeds (also known as kalonji) lend a nutlike texture and unusual peppery taste to any long cooked chutney.  Feel free to add your own signature spice mix to this green tomato chutney and enjoy a little summer in the coming months.


green tomato chutney

by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes about 2 cups
2 1/4 pounds green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup cane sugar
1 cup pure apple cider vinegar (Bragg’s organic is nice)
1/3 cup dark raisins
2 whole cinnamon sticks
3/4 T golden mustard seeds
scant 1/2 t crushed red pepper
pinch kosher salt
  1. Place all ingredients in large shallow nonreactive saucepan, bring to full boil and then simmer over medium low heat, at a steady gentle boil , for about 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally,or until thickened like chunky applesauce.
  2. The saucepan should be shallow to allow good evaporation of liquid and setting; the chutney may appear runny, but will thicken nicely on refrigeration.
  3. Cool completely at room temp.
  4. Store tightly covered in fridge, preferably in glass containers, with cinnamon sticks included to maintain flavor.
makes about 2 cups
categories : condiments, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, autumn


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