Tomato Apple Chutney

This weekend, as always, we had a lot of picking to do. Our harvest is spreading across several tables and counters now. From the orchard we have lots of apples and pears:

And from the kitchen garden we have an assortment of other (technical) fruits, including tomatoes, bell peppers. cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplant:

The past two years we made and canned a delicious peach and zucchini chutney at the height of summer to preserve those outsized harvests. It's one of my all-time favorite foods, and I love it with some cheese, crackers, and pickles for a winter lunch. 

This year we will not have any, so when our last jars are gone, we'll be out of that particular chutney for a few years, until a new peach tree begins to bear

So we went back to the drawing board to find a new chutney recipe with ingredients that we actually have. Mid-September tomatoes and apples? Check.

The Ball Book has a tomato apple chutney recipe, as does River Cottage. Since Hugh (Kirk's favorite) recommends basically just piling up a lot of whatever ingredients are growing well, Kirk just started chopping and boiled up a pot of veggie goodness to cook down into a thick chutney:

In the end, his recipe went something like this:

Tomato Apple Chutney

2 cups peeled and cored apples, chopped
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
5 cups tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cucumber, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
3 small onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins, plus a handful of accidental Concord grapes raisins
2 jalapeños, chopped
1 1/2 Tbs. ginger garlic paste
1 tsp. cayenne pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups brown sugar

Cut the apples first and put them in a large pot with vinegar to keep from browning. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir, bringing to a boil.

While the mixture heats up, make a spice bag with 2 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, and 1 tsp. each black peppercorns, cloves, and allspice. Tie the bag together with a long string and add to the chutney as it cooks. 

After it boils, reduce heat to a low simmer and cook down to reduce by half. This will make about 5 or 6 pints of chutney once it's nice and thick.

Remove the spice bag and process chutney in a hot water canner for 10 minutes. 

The thing about a chutney is that it actually tastes much better after it gets to mellow out for a few months to let the spices really ripen and infuse the whole jar. We probably won't know what this tastes like until Thanksgiving or Christmas, but I'll report back then. If it's even half as good as the peach chutney, I'll be excited!


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