Making Chutney (Tomato)
Chutneys are an excellent way of preserving fruit and vegetables as they have the longest shelf life of all preserves. So long as all the jars are clean and have an excellent seal they can last for at least 11/2-2 years. A chutney has a smooth texture and is usually made from finely chopped fruit and vegetables and an individual balance of spices and other flavourings, so each recipe will be different. They are cooked for quite a long period of time, so the flavours are at their best when left to mature for weeks before use. Any pungent spicy flavour mellows over time and the flavours balance and blend, so don’t be tempted to try out your chutney too early as the taste will change for the better over time.
Steps in making chutney
Preparing the fruit and vegetables.
Wash well and remove peel, cores and stalks. Chop everything very finely, a food processor is ideal for speeding up this stage.
Cooking the ingredients
Some may need some pre-cooking, like blackberries as they will need to be sieved to remove the seeds. Usually all the ingredients are cooked together, so the making os a chutney is fairly straightforward. But check individual recipes for any pre- cooking required. The texture of a finished chutney should be thick and moist, not dry or the ingredients look as though they are seperating.
Chutneys are put into the jars whilst still hot and sealed immediately, this produces a good seal that allows the preserve to be kept for a long period of time. Once sealed leave intha same place until cool then store in a cool dark and dry place.
None of the following chutney recipes are mind blowingly hot or over pungent, so should appeal to most chutney lovers. If however, you want a more pungent flavour, the amounts of the hotter spices, like chilli or ginger may be increased. It is advisable to make a trial batch so you can make sure it is edible. You may use spiced or un-spiced vinegar it is up to you, the spiced vinegar gives a fully flavour. It is difficult to give a yield for chutneys as it depends on the type and ripeness of the produce used, so the yield is very approximate.
This is my favourite chutney for eating with burgers and hot dogs.
Yield approximately 2 kg/4lb
1.5kg/3lb tomatoes, chopped with or without the skins
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped or processed
200ml/7floz malt vinegar
200g/7oz soft brown sugar
1 taespoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon paprika
Tip of a teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 level dessertspoon salt
1.Put all inredients in the pan with half of the vinegar. Bring to simmering and stir until sugar is dissolved. Continue simmering for 30 minutes then add the rest of the vinegar and simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.
2.If after this time the chutney hasn’t thickened continue to simmer until it reaches the desired thickness.
3.Pot and seal immediately.
Store for 4 weeks before consuming, once opened, refridgerate and use within a month.