Waste Not – Want Not
“If you do not waste things, you are less likely to end up lacking”
my grandmother often told me and I could not (or did not want to) figure out what she meant with it.
When I read the fables of La Fontaine as a child I never liked The Ant and the Grasshopper, the sense of frugal living and saving for hard times did not appeal to me. And I invested all my pocket money in Bazooka chewing gum (does anybody still remember that horrid pink gum?). Live in the now and enjoy it to the fullest had a different meaning then.
I have changed a little bit over the years: where once I did not like to eat leftovers (you will not be surprised I still do not have a microwave in my household – but that is another story), I have become more antsy and love to preserve summer’s bounty of fruit and vegetables.
Gone is the wonderful season of sun-ripened tomatoes full of flavour and juices. I am left with some tomatoes varying from very green to slightly blushing.
This is my weight record tomato: 486 g
There are several ways to fare with your unripened tomatoes: You can put the in a dry place and they will slowly turn red but the flavour is not the same and they have far less succulent juice. But they are ok in a tomato sauce (sugo napoletano).
This year I came up with this recipe for a green tomato chutney (I cheated a little bit by also using my blushing and very firm beauties).
My beautiful bowl of green and not so green tomatoes
Ok, here we go:
Late Bloomers Green Tomato Chutney
Yield: 6 jars @ 250 ml
The nice thing about green tomatoes: you do not have to peel them.
1 kg tomatoes, cored and diced
150 g onion, sliced
2 fresh chillies, split, seeded and finely cut
50 g fresh ginger, grated
200 g cranberries, dried
250 ml malt vinegar (apple cider vinegar will also do nicely)
200 g light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cumin
Dry roast spices in a large stainless steel pot, this way they release all their fantastic flavours.
Add all the other ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring vigorously to mix well.
Reduce heat to a low boil and cook, still stirring frequently, for 45 minutes, until the mixture is thick and jam like. The colour will change from green to a light brown.
In the beginning of the cooking process
In the end: the finished product, unlabelled yet
Once finished, ladle the chutney into clean hot (or sterilized) jars and sterilize.
Serve this wonderful chutney with an Indian meal, with your boiled meat or with a cheese platter.
Storage: Unsterilized chutney will keep in the refrigerator for about a month, canned chutney will keep a year.
Coming back to La Fontaine’s fable, there is so much more to it than meets the eye:
Are you an ANT or a GRASSHOPPER?
A teamworker or a loner?
Will you sing all summer or will you be busy storing and preserving?