The Big Glean + Chutney Machine

There were plenty of delicious bright red tomatoes in the garden this year, of all shapes and sizes. But as the evenings drew in and the record breaking, baking summer finally cooled off, ripening slowed, and for tomatoes was pretty much over. With a mild reprise even in mid November, ripening can continue, if slowly. But with this mild and often damp weather there is the increasing risk of late tomato blight spoiling those last pickings…

So it’s a perfect time to take matters into our green fingered hands and carry them into the kitchen which, as this one is in the garden, and on wheels, we can meet half way.

And as the old song goes:
‘Anyone for chutney? Green tomato chutney?
Oh, take me on a journey, a green tomato journey,
In to lovely, lovely, chutney land!’

But first glean your tomatoes. Our community gardeners donated their green tomatoes to the tune of over 45kg before a thunderstorm stopped play. After the gleaning and chortling comes the cleaning and sorting. There’s very little waste from green toms, and what there is goes in to the wormery or compost heap, to help next year’s plants grow even better.

Cutting and slicing is a fun and rewarding community activity for all ages. With the addition of some garden grown onions, some locally scrumped apples and a little sugar, the mix went on to simmer and reduce for about three hours, turning into the rich, sticky wonder that is chutney.

All in all, over 30 jars were bottled up and will be made available for sale at future events to raise funds for the garden. All those who donated their excess tom crop will get a jar free!

Chutney is great with any cheese, cooked or otherwise. A classic favourite is a liberal dribble of the fruity nectar over Stilton crushed onto sourdough toast. Yum!

On the day, lunch for hungry chutney makers was, of course, a delicious South Indian green tomato curry!

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