This year we have been growing these incredible tomatoes called Amish Paste in our greenhouse. We bought the seeds from the Real Seed Catalogue – which has the most tempting selection of heirloom veg as well good modern strains. All the seeds sold by the company are real, open-pollinated and non-hybrid, and the varieties have been chosen to work really well for people who are growing veg at home. They also want to encourage you to save your own seed too – all highly impressive. I can’t recommend them enough, and if you are a veg grower I defy you to leave their site without indulging yourself!
According to the Real Seed Catalogue, Amish Paste it is a giant plum tomato and we chose it because it was recommended for making a good, sweet, tomato sauce. We get through a lot of tinned tomatoes and passata over the winter, and thought it would be good to make our own sauce to go in the freezer. The plants are doing really well, and at the weekend we picked 5kg of lovely ripe tomatoes. 2kg went to make some plain tomato sauce and the rest went into my favourite tomato chutney recipe, which is a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s Eastern Vegetarian Cooking, called Kamal’s Sweet Tomato Chutney.
It makes an incredibly sweet, smoky and HOT tomato chutney which is equally at home served with a curry as it is on a bacon sandwich. Last year, because we were attacked by tomato blight, we only managed to make 3 jars of it – this year I have 6 jars so far! I hope I’ll be making some more before the season is out.
Sweet Tomato Chutney
Sweet Tomato Chutney
- 1 kg ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1/4 tsp whole fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
- 500ml of white vinegar
- 400g granulated sugar
- 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 tsp ground mace
- 1/4 tsp garam masala
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 40g raisins
- Grind the fennel and fenugreek in a spice grinder or use a pestle and mortar (hard work!).
- Bring the vinegar to simmering point in a non-reactive pan, and then stir in the sugar, making sure that it is fully dissolved.
- Add all the other ingredients except the raisins, and bring the whole lot up to the boil.
- Leave to boil gently for 40 minutes, stirring every so often.
- Add the raisins and continue boiling for another 25-45 minutes (it really depends on how juicy your tomatoes were to start with), stirring more frequently to make sure it doesn’t stick. Protect your hand with a cloth or glove when you stir at this stage, because it can spit at you!
- When the chutney is no longer watery and looks like a nice thick sauce, turn off the heat. Whilst still hot, pot the chutney into sterilized jars, and cover with non-reactive (plastic coated) lids. This chutney (assuming you have potted it correctly) will keep for at least a year.
- The quantities given above make about 2 450g jars of chutney – but I have doubled and tripled the recipe successfully.