This summer Juls planted at least 20 tomato vines. They were growing nicely and started to fruit just as we were due to travel to Melbourne for the Christmas break. Always the way. A friend of ours thankfully came to house-sit and undertook the daily task of watering our large garden. So grateful. Two weeks of an Aussie summer is more than enough to kill off most of our veggie patch.
Ironically, this year was different. NSW has experienced the wettest January on record. I’m talking spectacularly wild storms, cracks of lightening followed in milliseconds by tumultuous thunder. Torrential down pours heavy enough to leak through our kitchen ceiling. (again!) Shouldn’t complain, at least I’m not shoveling my car out from under 3 feet of snow right? Though skiing to work does sound fun.
Needless to say, we came home to tomato vines gone wild. Our initial attempt to stake them as they grew was now obsolete. They simply roamed as they pleased over the chillies, through the zucchini and around the kale. Some of the fruit had rotten, others pecked at by birds. Even so, I harvested approximately five kilos of fist sized tomatoes and who knows how many more of cherry tomatoes. They have since been sitting on my kitchen bench to ripen. Every night I check the cherry tomatoes and throw any red ones in the fridge to use in salads, on toast and myriad other ways. The big ones have taken their time, but decided this week was the week. Now we have tomato chutney to enjoy at leisure throughout the year ahead.
What would you make with a large tomato harvest?
Makes Approx 1.5 kilos
This is not a tried and tested recipe but a first timer. If I was going to change anything, I would decrease further or eliminate altogether the sugar. My tomatoes were sweet enough. No doubt you could make it in smaller batches if preferred.
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 large red onions – diced
2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped
2 kilos of tomatoes – roughly chopped
1/2 C rapadura sugar
1/2 C red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt plus more to taste
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
2 tsp sweet paprika
You will also need glass jars for storing.
1. Heat coconut oil in a large pot, add onions and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook for a further 5 minutes until onion is starting to brown.
2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and cook on high for 45 minutes uncovered. Stir intermittently.
3. Reduce heat to medium and cook for a further 45 minutes until the majority of the liquid has evaporated. Stir intermittently. Your looking for a jammy/chunky consistency. Cooking time will vary depending on how juicy your tomatoes are.
4. Pre-heat oven to 130ºC. Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse and place in the oven. Once hot, fill with chutney leaving 1-2cm at the top. Fasten lid to seal. Sealed jars should keep for 6-12 months. Once opened, store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.