Author Jean Morrison
Date and Tomato Chutney
Years ago my husband never liked chutneys and relishes. According to him they were all too vinegary for his taste. Now he loves the home made versions with his cheese and biscuits
As with all chutneys that involve tomatoes you can chose to peel them or not. Removing the skins is not really all that time consuming. If you don't remove the skins you must chop the tomatoes exceedingly small because nothing is worse than feeling pieces of cooked tomato skin in your mouth.
This chutney needs to be cooked quite slowly so the dates become really soft. You don't need the heat turned up high because there is not so much liquid to evaporate as in normal chutney. A lot of the liquid in this chutney is absorbed into the dates.
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Quantity:Makes 1 and 1/4 litres
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1 kg tomatoes
200 gm pitted dates, chopped small
2 large onions, chopped small
6 large cloves garlic, chopped
3 apples, cored, peeled and chopped small
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 and 1/2 cups brown vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
Cut out the stem end from each tomato. Lightly cut a cross into the skin at the base of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them sit for 3 minutes, then drain. Plunge the tomatoes into cold water and let them sit for a further 3 minutes. Skins should then easily peel off.
Chop the tomatoes roughly and place in a large saucepan with the dates, onions, garlic, apples, spices, vinegar and salt. Bring to the boil and cook gently for 15 minutes. Add the sugar, stir well and bring back to the boil. boil slowly for up to an hour. When chutney is thick pour into hot, sterilized jars. Seal when hot.
Makes 4 jars (about 1 and 1/4 litres).
I cut the dates up using kitchen scissors.
Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits with some records showing they were available as far back as 50,000 BC. They grow on date palms and are clustered together under the green leaves of the tree. Dates are very sweet and soft and can be blended until smooth and used as a natural sweetener. They contain potassium and soluble fibre. Fresh or dried dates can be eaten as is or they can be stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, citrus peel and cream cheese.
Tomatoes first grew as wild cherry sized fruits in the South American Andes but the tomato as we know it today, originates from Mexico. Tomato seeds were taken back to the Mediterranean countries where they quickly became popular. There are now more than 7,000 varieties of tomatoes. Eating tomatoes at least two times per week is now believed to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and to be beneficial in fighting other forms of cancer. The key ingredient in tomatoes is Lycopene which is a carotenoid. Cooking tomatoes, most especially in oil, releases the lycopene making it more available to the body. Tomatoes are also said to be good for the eyes. Tomatoes that are ripened on the vine have far more vitamin C than those that are picked green.
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