Thursday, August 7, 2008

Green Tomatoes

I have thirteen tomato plants growing in our garden, which means that a portion of my daily rounds entails admiring all the green tomatoes as they grow huge on the vine and anticipating what an avalanche of ripe red tomatoes we will soon have.

But then I think of some of our favorite tomato preparations such as green tomato and apple chutney and how we will be scrambling to find enough green tomatoes in October to make them and I think to myself, Why wait?

It probably should have dawned on me much sooner, but yesterday it hit me like a thunderclap that there was no reason at all to wait for the end of the season to start canning green tomatoes when so many of them are staring me in the face. So I turned my usual approach to tomatoes inside-out and just continued with my recent pickling operation, only switching briefly to green tomatoes to make a batch of our favorite chutney.

I can hardly think of a better use for green tomatoes, unless it is my wife's famous fried green tomato BLT sandwich, or perhaps her green tomato pizza. For months I have been missing something from the larder and that has been our green tomato and apple chutney, a wonderful condiment that of course fits marvelously well in an Indian meal, but also is fine next to a fatty pork roast, or slathered with goat cheese on a piece of toast or eaten right out of the jar with a spoon.

Since I've already written up the recipe, I won't repeat it. It's not difficult at all if you have a few basic pieces of equipment. And if you've been doing any pickling at all lately you probably have all the spices in your pantry already.

Spend an hour doing this and you will have the best chutney you've ever tasted for the rest of the year.

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