So. Autumn is definitely in the air.
About 2-3 weeks earlier than I expected, at that.
(Yes, I know the Equinox is a scant week away — hopefully I’ll be spending it at Windborn and then hanging out drinking apple martinis or something with my girls — but two degrees Celsius is still a low-assed temperature for mid-September around here).
Consequently, I spent this morning dragging in the last of the produce from my balcony garden. I’ve turned most of it into green tomato chutney (or something along those lines), and will be turning most of the rest of it into sweet-and-sour pickled radishes over the course of the weekend.
The tomato chutney also used a couple of wild apples from a tree that grows a few blocks away. (I swear. If I had a ladder to haul around, I’d probably get myself into a LOT of trouble — there’s an apple tree just up and around the corner from me, which nobody’s harvesting, and I’m just sighing over it, I tell you).
I utterly love knowing where I can find a few sweet apple trees (as opposed to crab apple trees, although those have their fabulous uses, too). Since I don’t have much in the way of garden space (oh, how I long for multiple fruit trees and a big garden space to grow them in!) it’s that much more important to me to know where the fruits in my neighbourhood grow and when their season of ripeness falls. 🙂
The recipe for this Mabon-appropriate chutney(-esque) is as follows:
Green Tomato Chutney with Wild Apples
1 1/2 cups of green tomatoes, diced
3-5 gloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup tart wild apples, cored and diced
1 red banana pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
1/2 C apple cider vinegar
1/2 C white wine vinegar (mine was infused with garlic, om nom)
1/4 C fresh basil leaves
1 tbsp prepared dijon-style mustard (or 2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds)
1-2 tsp salt
2 tsp whole black pepper corns
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp dried coriander (OR 1/4 C fresh coriander leaves)
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
5 small fresh nasturtium leaves, shredded
Throw everything in a pot and boil the hell out of it until the tomatoes are softened and most of the liquid has boiled away and/or been absorbed.
Spoon into steam-sterilized jars, cap with steam-sterilized lids, and process in a boiling water bath for about 5 minutes.
Allow to cool (you should hear the “plunk” of the lids sealing themselves to the jars as this happens), then re-tighten the rings and store in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks, until you decide to open it.
(This should be pretty zingy when you pop the lid off. There’s a LOT of spicy in here — at least for me. Not sure whether the nasturtium leaves will keep their Spicy going once they’re cooked, mind you, but the garlic, black pepper, and mustard should do the trick either way).