Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cracking good chutney

Mum brought me the last gleanings of her tomato plants - firm green tomatoes that were ideal for making tomato chutney (p233). It took me a few days to get together everything I needed for the recipe - the biggest question mark was where to find muslin for tying up the spices. We found some at Spotlight, however, and on Thursday night I set out to make my chutney.

The biggest task was chopping up the tomato, apple and onion before putting them into a pot with raisins, peel, brown sugar, vinegar and salt. I had only enough tomatoes for a 1/4 recipe, but it took ages to chop everything up, and the ingredients came close to filling my largest pot. I'm glad I didn't try to do the full recipe!

I added the cloves, peppercorns and chilli tied in muslin, and brought the mixture to to the boil. Then it sat simmering for about an hour and a half. I stirred it every few minutes, but apart from that, it didn't require much supervising.

When the chutney had been simmering for about an hour, I started preparing the jars. I estimated that I'd need 3 jars, but prepared 4 just in case. I carefully removed the labels and cleaned the jars before putting them in the oven to sterilise.

Before long (and earlier than I expected), the chutney was ready. I got the first jar out of the oven and began to fill it. Not having taken Mum's advice and acquired a jam funnel, I was spooning it into the jar. I found it quite awkward, and went to pick the jar up so I could hold it over the pot while I spooned in the chutney. Hot jar: not smart. I grabbed my tongs and tried holding it that way.. and promptly dropped the jar into the chutney.

Sighing, I fished out the jar and plonked it back on the bench, at which point it occurred to me it would be just as easy (in fact easier) to hold the pot over the jar. In this way, I filled up my gooey jar quite successfully, and went to get a second jar.

As I dropped the first spoonful into the jar, I heard a sharp crack: I looked at the jar and found a crack up the side. Luckily I'd prepared a spare jar. I grabbed that one and started spooning... crack! D'oh! now I only had one jar left. I managed to fill this one without cracking the jar, but there was still about half a jar of chutney left.

I hastily prepared another jar, keeping the remaining chutney warm on the stovetop. This was successfully spooned into the jar without any cracking, so I finally had 2 1/2 jars of chutney ready to eat.

So what did it taste like? Well, I'm not hugely into chutney as a rule, so I'm not much of a judge. It seemed very sweet to me, and tasted mostly of onions, not tomatoes. You get an occasional zing from a piece of peel, or a burst of sweetness from a raisin. It was quite nice on my cheese on toast, but I'd just as happily eat the toast without it.  Never mind: there are a few recipes in the Edmonds book that require chutney or relish as an ingredient, so I'll be able to use up some of it that way!

1 comment:

  1. Make sure you're not pouring hot stuff into jars on a cold surface and I usually allow the jars to cool just slightly when they first come out of the oven, sorry should have mentioned these things while I was up.Good luck with the rest of the relishes etc.


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