I have to admit that I tend towards Darwinian gardening -- if the plant can survive a fair amount of benign neglect interspersed with sporadic weeding/fertilizing/watering, it'll likely do well in my garden. And if not, I make a mental note to avoid those plants that didn't thrive in the future and we both move on. Except when it comes to tomatoes. For some reason, hope springs eternal and I keep planting them.
Every year, I plant San Marzanos, Big Boys, Mortgage Lifters, Super Sweet 100s, and Sungolds and every year, it's a crap shoot. The cherry tomatoes tend to rise to the challenge but the others languish on the vine, remaining resolutely green. To be fair, we have a number of very large pine trees that block to sun and it's hard to find a spot in our yard that gets 6 hours of unfiltered sunlight....our raised beds aren't exactly in the best tomato-growing spot. Needless to say, I've become familiar with green tomatoes and what to do with them. This year, I decided to look into pickling and chutney -- and I haven't been disappointed. Turns out green tomatoes are a Darwinian gardener's dream.
Green Tomato and Apple Chutney
2 pounds green tomatoes, rough chopped
2 apples, peeled and rough chopped
1 medium yellow onion, rough chopped
1 - 2 dried chiles, soaked in water and minced (remove the seeds if you want prefer a less spicy chutney)
1/3 cup fresh ginger, rough chopped
1 cup apple cider
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and reduce to a simmer and cook for about an hour, or until the consistency is thick and syrupy.
Pour the hot mixture directly into sterilized jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Let sit undisturbed for 24 hours, then store in a dark, cool place. Will keep for at least a year.