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Relish this savory-sweet idea for summer produce

Recipe: Plum-plum tomato chutney like a chunky ketchup

Dark plums and ripe plum tomatoes combine in a summery chutney. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

An overload of Juliet tomatoes and a big basket of purple plums inspired this recipe.

After I made several batches of plum jam and tomato sauce, it was time to move on to something that combines the sweet with the savory: Chutney.

This version is nothing like commercial, vaguely Indian chutneys. My tomato-based chutney tastes more like an upscale chunky ketchup with a pleasant balance of sweet and tart. It’s a tasty relish on burgers, hot dogs or sandwiches as well as an accompaniment to pork chops or tenderloin. It works with French fries, too.

Meatier in texture, plum tomatoes cook down faster than their round counterparts, so I like to use them in chutneys, which thicken on the stove. (And it makes for a fun recipe name.)

This recipe can scale up or down, depending on how many tomatoes and plums you have sitting on the counter.

Refrigerate or process the chutney.

Plum-plum tomato chutney
Makes 4 cups


1 ½ pounds plum tomatoes
1 ½ pounds dark plums
1 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon ginger
½ cup raisins
¼ cup sugar or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and roughly chop tomatoes. Pit and finely chop plums. Set aside.

Chutney simmers for up to an hour or more.
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, melt butter. Sauté chopped onion until translucent.

Add tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt. Stir and sauté for 5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to soften.

Rinse raisins with boiling water.

Add broth, red wine, vinegar, ginger and raisins to the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, uncovered.

Add chopped plums, including any accumulated juices. Adjust heat to keep mixture bubbling but not a full boil, stirring often.

Add sugar, adjusting the amount to the sweetness of the plums.

Let mixture cook down to desired consistency, stirring often to prevent sticking. This can take 20 minutes to an hour or more, depending on how juicy the tomatoes and plums are. Be patient and keep stirring every few minutes.

When chutney is almost done, add salt and pepper to taste.

Store in the refrigerator or process in jars. This chutney also freezes well.

To process in jars: Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Makes 4 half-pints.


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For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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