Every year I say to Mr JH; ‘are you sure you need that many tomato plants?’ Every year he insists he does and we end up with a greenhouse full. Not sure what other people do, but I make chutney. Lest I was thinking of slacking this year, youngest child bought me two extra jars, so my fate and that of the tomatoes was sealed.
I’m breaking my own rule as I always say I never measure anything but with chutney you have to balance the ingredients and after a bit of tweaking, this recipe works for me.
These quantities will fill four kilner jars.
6 medium eating apples; 6 medium onions; 1kg courgettes; 1kg tomatoes; 300mg sultanas, 400mg brown sugar; 500mls cider vinegar; 1 tablespoon mixed spice; a cinnamon stick (optional); 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds; 1 pepper (optional); seasoning.
My nan always used to wash her jars and then pop them in a medium oven. I’m not sure it’s strictly necessary but I follow her example. Then cut out discs of greased proof paper to place on top of the mixture. I turn the containers upside down and draw round the circumference. By cutting just inside this circle, the greased proof paper should exactly fit the top of the jars.
Skin tomatoes by plunging in boiling water. If you’re using a pepper, roast it first to remove the skin. Cut all choppable bits into roughly equal sizes but don’t worry too much as it’s going to simmer for three hours so will mostly mush down and blend in during the cooking process.
I tend to leave the jars in the oven after I’ve turned it off (after about 20 minutes) so they stay warm. Remove and fill each jar with the mixture. Place a disc on each one.
Hopefully this can be achieved with as little mess as possible; though clearly not in my case.
Seal, label and leave for three weeks before eating.
Only thing left to do is clean the gloop from hob and work surfaces and open all the windows so that the house doesn’t smell of simmering chutney for weeks.
Next cataclysmic cook blog: After last time’s abortive attempt with the mince which turned itself into lasagne, I promise I will make meatballs!