Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomato Chutney and Canning Tips

I finally found the easiest way to can preserves and jams.  Yay!  It is the oven method and it's way easier than the hot water bath method.  Thank you a la Alison for the tip!  I have been trying to can and preserve everything now since the summer is coming to the end.  Especially tomatoes since they are bountiful at this moment and I know that this will not last.

I decided to test out the oven method for canning with this delicious tomato chutney and it worked out perfecto!  I wanted to make chutney because you can use it in so many different things like sandwiches, dipping sauce, burgers, steaks, whatever!  This tastes like a sweet and savory tomato relish with Indian flavors.  There's nothing like fresh chutney.

Adapted from Aarti Party
Makes 6 cups

6 tbs canola oil
2 tsp brown mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large red onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 inches ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp paprika
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
3 3/4 c (about 30 ounces) diced fresh heirloom tomatoes but any variety will do
4 tbs molasses
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Warm canola oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat until nearly smoking.

Keep your lid handy.  Add brown mustard seeds and cumin seeds to hot oil and the popping begins.  Carefully swirl the hot oil around the dutch oven with a wooden spoon and place lid over the top.  Wait roughly 30 seconds. 

Turn down the stove to medium heat.  Add onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes longer.

Stir in turmeric, garam masala, and paprika to the mixture and saute for 30 seconds.  Add the apple cider vinegar and cook for 1 more minute.

Add the diced tomatoes, molasses, 1 tsp salt, and lots of freshly ground pepper.  Stir, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes or 'til sauce has thickened and some of the liquid has evaporated.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.

I had gorgeous heirloom tomatoes from my CSA produce box.  Aren't they so pretty?  You can use practically any type of tomato in this recipe or even canned diced tomatoes because you cook them down.  I used the heirloom tomatoes for the color and because I had them on hand.

I still haven't figured out how to cut onions without having them make my eyes tear.  If you know, please tell me!

I savor these tomatoes.  They were so good I could just eat them raw.

The molasses in this recipe is really good and smoky.  You could probably replace the molasses with brown sugar because brown sugar has molasses in it but I haven't tried it.

I loved using the Indian spices from this recipe.  There are so many fragrant colorful ones out there and it creates a fantastic aroma when you put it in a hot pan.

Almost done but the chutney has to cook down and thicken.

I'm so happy that I finally learned how to can.  Mat and I can enjoy this chutney months from now!

Canning Directions
Wash all canning jars and lids.  I hand washed them but some people prefer to use the dishwasher.

To sterilize all the jars, first preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.  On a baking pan (or baking sheet), place jars upright on it and also toss in the lids.  Put the jars and lids in the oven for at least 30 minutes.

When you take the jars and lids out of the oven, let the items cool so it is easy to handle.  Pour the preserves or jam into the jars (do not fill all the way to the top... leave a little room in there) and tighten the lids on the jars.

Place the filled and sealed jars back on to the baking pan and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Do not overload the baking pan with too many jars. 

Take out the hot jars from the baking pan and place them in a cool, dark place to rest undisturbed.  Do not meddle with them!  The last thing you want to do it break the seal and lose all the hard work you just did.  Handle the jars once they are cool.


SLidog said...

Thanks for the recipe and tips. I've been wanting to try canning some fruit soon too. Going to get some plums and pluots this weekend to test it out.

Monica said...

you're welcome! let me know how it goes! =)

DrunkOnShoes said...

u are amazeballs. i don't know how u find time to work, blog, and cook. my wifely duties have totally taken a hit when i started blogging. u totally remind me of giada delaurentis (not sure on the spelling there)

Monica said...

haha thanks shai! mat works late all the time so as soon as i get home after work, i take care of the dog and then make dinner. cooking totally de-stresses me for some reason! other people have told me that i remind them of giada. i love her! =)

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