What To Do with a Glut of Tomatoes

Tomato, Ginger and Sultana Chutney

Sterilize the glass jars.

Prepare the tomatoes, wash and roughly chop them.

Crush the garlic and dice the peeled onion.

Place the vinegar, sugar, cardamom pods, onion, ginger, seasoning, crushed garlic and coriander seeds in a large saucepan over low heat to dissolve the sugar.

Once the sugar has dissolved bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil until it becomes a syrup. You will notice that the bubbles becomes laboured and heavier.

Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, bay leaf and sultanas and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.

Cook until the chutney is the right consistency. I like my chutney thick and quite dry but it's your choice, if you would like to test your chutneys setting point, place a small plate in the freezer, pour a teaspoon of chutney on the ice cold plate, let it cool for 5 minutes and then you will have an  indication of what it would look like once cooled.

Once your happy with your consistency add the chopped thyme and onion seeds, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Let the chutney cool for 10 minutes before you fill your sterilized jars.

Makes approximately 600g of chutney

Food Fanatics Tips

As I have already mentioned I love this recipe as it's a fantastic basic recipe that could be adapted easily. For a pear or mango chutney I use the basic recipe and replace the tomatoes with peeled and roughly diced pears or mangoes and replace the tomato puree with 1tsb finely sliced and de-seeded red chillies. I also add a tiny pinch of saffron to the chutney to give it that golden rich colour, be conservative and only add a tiny pinch!

Semi-dried Tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 100°C and place two large cooling racks on two large baking trays.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in halves or quarters, the smaller the size the quicker they will dry.

Place the cut tomatoes on the cooling racks, lightly season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and scatter the thyme leaves  over the tomatoes.

Place the tray in the preheated oven for approximately three hours. The length of time that you dry the tomatoes depends on the amount you are drying and also the way that you have cut them. I set a timer for two hours to begin with and then check them and increase the drying time to to suit my needs.

For preserving them I would like them dry enough but not completely shriveled nor juicy and wet.

Once the tomatoes are semi-dried remove the tray from the oven.Sterilize the jars that will be used to store them .

Wearing claen rubber gloves, place the warm tomatoes into the sterilized jars and cover with oil. Keep the bottles in the fridge. I use olive oil and once the tomatoes have been used you will have tomato infused oil which makes perfect dressings for pasta dishes or salads.

Makes about 750 gms of semi-dried tomatoes

Tomato Sauce For Keeps

Sterilize glass jars.

Wash the tomatoes and cut them in half.

Crush the garlic and roughly dice the peeled onions.

Heat a large saucepan with the oil and saute the onion, crushed garlic , bay leaves and seasoning until golden brown.

Add the tomato puree and sugar and cook for 3 minutes, add the prepared tomatoes and water.

Bring the tomatoes to a the boil, reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Place a food mill over a clean saucepan and pass the tomato sauce through the food mill, discard the skins and bring the sauce back to the boil.

Divide the fresh sprigs of herbs between the jars, then pour the sauce into the sterilized glass jars or bottles, seal and cool.

Makes approximately 2L tomato sauce

Sterilising the jars:

This is one of the most crucial steps to successful preserving and you should never cut corners with this one. If you not do this properly you might find your preserved goods becomes mouldy and ferments sooner than expected. Preheat the oven to 100°C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water; do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the damp jars and lids on a clean baking tray; try not to touch the jars and lids on the insides. Place them in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Let the jars cool slightly before you scoop in the cooked product.

Never pour cold liquid in to hot glass jars, you will end up with broken glass. Take extra care when sterilising the jars, if they are overheated they might explode.