Thanks again to my awesome FIL, who built me another planter box, effectively doubling my garden to a whopping 36 sqft. Who says you need a lot of space to have a productive garden?
I'm sure I'll be jonesing for a decent tomato in February, but right now if I have to eat one more fresh tomato, I might die. Okay, not really. Rather than let all the tomatoes sit and rot on my countertop (yes, I tried to give some away, but my neighbors are in the same boat), I canned a big batch of tomato chutney. Actually this was the second batch. The first batch went straight into the freezer because I couldn't be bothered to bust out the canning paraphernalia.
Making a tomato chutney isn't hard, but it does require some babysitting. I simply took my 6+ pounds of cherry tomatoes and put them in a pot with 1 cup rice vinegar (regular white vinegar is also fine), 1 cup granulated sugar and salt to taste (optional if you're watching your salt intake). Then I just let it all reduce over medium heat. This took a long time...like 2 hours because the tomatoes have so much liquid that has to be cooked off. I stirred it occasionally at first then frequently toward the end to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. The 6+ pounds of tomatoes gave me 4+ cups of chutney, which I canned in 8 x 125ml jars (processed for 15 minutes using boiling water canner).
A couple of tips: As it's cooking down, taste it and add more sugar if you find it's not sweet enough. I always end up doing this. You can also add spices. I added copious fresh ginger to the first batch and it was fantastic, tangy and slightly spicy.
Chutneys aren't just meant to accompany Indian food. There are limitless ways to enjoy this one. My favorite is atop a nice sharp cheese with crusty bread. Or served with a grilled cheese sandwich. Or how about on a bacon and lettuce sandwich for an nontraditional but delicious BLT. I also like it mixed in with hummus and eaten with pita chips. You may also try adding fresh herbs, such as finely chopped mint, coriander and/or chilies before serving. Of course chutneys are good accompaniments to meat dishes and this one is good for everything from a roasted chicken to roasted lamb.
This is my entry for Weekend Wokking. This round we're celebrating vinegar and I'm the host! If you want to participate, send your entry to me at blazinghotwok(at)gmail(dot)com by Oct 4th.