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You’ll have this easy chutney down P.A.T.

Recipe: P.A.T. Chutney combines plums (or pluots), apricots and tomatoes

Jars of chutney cooling on stove
The chutney can be processed, refrigerated or frozen.

Summer brings a mixed bag of fruit as plums, apricots and pluots pile up in my refrigerator drawer. Meanwhile, tomatoes are taking over the counter space.

This easy chutney makes use of them all in a sweet-savory combination. I call it P.A.T. – plum-apricot-tomato – but pluots (which are a cross of plums and apricots) work, too.

No peeling necessary. Roughly chop the fruit and let it cook down slowly. The longer it simmers, the thicker it becomes.

P.A.T. Chutney

Makes 6 cups or half-pint jars

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 cups onions, finely chopped

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

¼ cup red wine

¼ cup fig balsamic vinegar

½ cup sugar

4 pounds plums, pluots and/or apricots, pitted and roughly chopped

1 pound tomatoes, hulled and roughly chopped

1 cup raisins

1 teaspoon lemon black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon paprika

Reddish chutney cooking
Simmer slowly, stirring often.


Instructions:

In a large, heavy pot, melt butter or margarine. Sauté chopped onions until soft.

Add broth, wine, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil.

Add fruit and tomatoes. Return to boil, then reduce to simmer and cover.

After tomatoes and fruit start to break down, remove cover and add raisins.

Simmer uncovered, stirring often, until chutney is desired thickness. For thick, jamlike consistency, simmer chutney at least 1 hour, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Add pepper, salt and paprika. Adjust seasoning.

Refrigerate or freeze in half-pint containers. This chutney will keep at least a month in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

Or process jars 10 minutes in a hot-water bath.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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