We have been patiently waiting for real fall weather to kick in here. We get it for a day or two but then we are back to warm air and sunny skies. I know, I know…we shouldn’t complain but it is early November and our son went to school in shorts today. Shorts! We are ready for a true New England autumn. Until then we will make the most of our luck and use it to our advantage. We have been able to continue our harvest in our little garden…until yesterday when we pulled it all out to prepare for winter. Even in November we were still seeing eggplant, tomatoes and peppers. Before disassembling it we brought in all the baby green tomatoes, tiny peppers and eggplant that were left over.
Not wanting to do the obvious, we opted for a green tomato chutney, not only for its ease but because it will keep well too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall growing up eating much chutney here in America. In the UK, however, chutney is quite popular. So at our house we tend to always have some on hand, whether we have made it ourselves or purchased it at one of our favorite UK importer stores.
For this recipe, we chopped all of the green tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and added one stalk of celery. To this we added a spice mix of 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup raisins and 1 tablespoon each of the following: salt, white pepper, chili flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel seed, mustard seed, cloves & star anise. We kept the cloves and star anise in a small mesh strainer so we would be sure not to lose them in the chutney. The mixture was put in a sauté pan to which we added a cup of cider vinegar. We cooked this mixture down until it had a thick, jam-like consistency and then allowed it to cool completely before transferring it to canning jars for storage (we did not properly can this afterwards, but you certainly could). We opt to store them in the fridge…but truth be told we are nearly done with one jar already! It is that good.
The flavor is warm and fall-like from the cinnamon and nutmeg and yet it also vaguely resembles a Branston Pickle for all of you Anglophiles reading. We served ours on top of pita crips alongside cheese and thinly sliced sausage. This would make a perfect starter or party food for all the upcoming holiday parties. Easy to assemble and it works well prepared in advance. Of course the number one perk is that it is a great way to use up all of those unripened green tomatoes still hanging about in your garden. What is your favorite chutney?