With more of us interested in growing our own produce, September also brings the age-old problem of what to do with gluts of fruit and vegetables. Grandma Abson’s mantra was ‘Waste not want not’ and when this happened, nothing ever went to waste. She made chutneys and pickles to last through the winter as a perfect side dish with hot and cold dishes.
So, armed with a load of green tomatoes when the sun didn’t shine and were about to succumb to blight, I consulted one of Grandma’s collection of cookery book for a suitable recipe. Home-made chutneys are very easy to make and this recipe is based on her 1930s baking splattered copy of ‘Modern Cookery Illustrated’.
2 lb/approx 1 kg green tomatoes
2lbs/approx. 1 kg apples
1 lb/450g demerera sugar
1 lb/450g shallots
2 oz/50g garlic
2 tbsps of ginger (chopped finely) or ground ginger
6 red chillis (chopped finely)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp mustard seed
1 pint/ml vinegar (cider or white wine vinegar)
Quarter the tomatoes. Peel and core the apples and cut into pieces; peel the shallots and garlic. Mix together. Place in a large pan and add the other ingredients. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer for about 1½ hours, stirring until the ingredients are thick and soft. Allow to cool. Spoon into clean jars and cover securely.
Grandma Abson’s tips : Chop the tomatoes and onions finely or put them through a mincer if you want the final consistency of the chutney to be smooth. To test if the chutney is ready, draw a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan. If it’s ready, the chutney must not flow back into the gap left behind by the spoon. If not, then check every 5 minutes or so until the gap is clear. Chutney needs to cool slowly so the spices infuse and flavour the fruit. You can add more ginger and other spices such as mustard seed, coriander or cumin to make it even spicier.
Check out more of Grandma Abson’s Chutney recipes