L'air du vinaigre
Hey kids! Would you like your house to smell like vinegar? Have I got the recipe for you!
We had a surprisingly good tomato year this year in our garden. This is extra amazing considering we had a massive hail storm in early July which reduced many of our plants to sticks. The tomatoes bounced back and, boy howdy, did they produce. However, the cold descended before all the tomatoes could ripen. So, we had lots of green tomatoes and didn't have the heart to toss everything on the compost pile.
So we bagged our bounty up in brown paper bags with bananas to hopefully encourage ripening. It worked...for some. It actually worked better than the standard advice to rip the plant out of the ground and hang it upside down in a cool spot and let the tomatoes ripen "on the vine". That method had previously left us with a pile of dirt on our garage floor and hardly a ripened tomato. So, forget that noise. Anyway, the brown bag method worked for some of the closer to ripe tomatoes and they got added to pasta and other dinners.
So what to do with the rest. I was against frying them, the southern standard recipe, because I had used up my frying tolerance for the quarter on a batch of delicious egg rolls. Pickles? Wasn't feeling in a pickle mood. Salsa? I have tomatillo salsa in the freezer and while they are totally not the same thing, I'd already done the green thing into salsa deal. Aha! Chutney! Spicy, sweet, sour, uses lots of green tomatoes, OK!
Now begins the research. I poked all around and due to some combination of just-not-feeling-it with some recipes and "I don't want to go the grocery store for this recipe", I settled on the Green Tomato Chutney from FoodinJars.com. I used apple cider vinegar because I think white vinegar is too harsh, I threw in some brown mustard seeds because...I have a lot of them, they seem Indian, uhhh, because.... Then I started chopping and miraculously came up with nine cups of chopped green tomatoes which meant I could just make a 1.5 recipe instead of cooking with a calculator.
This recipe takes a while to cook down and be prepared for the nasal clearing overwhelming smell of vinegar. However, in the end I had two pungent pints of chutney preserved and a good amount for the refrigerator and making cheese and crackers extra delicious. Yet another way to extend the bounty of our garden.