Now there is one famous pickle, which always accompanies a ploughman’s lunch, Branston Pickle . But I find this pickle too tangy and strong in spices and I always have to turn a cheese and pickle sandwich down.
I just had to try and make my own, not using the usual suspects of ingredients (carrots, swede, cauliflower, apples and dates). My Relish is made with an overlooked vegetable, Green Tomatoes, which are most likely to end up in the compost bin because they will not ripen well, as autumn approaches and daylight hours start to get shorter.
This year has been a good year for my tomato plants and harvests have been plenty. I started my seed back in January, and plants were ready to flower and set fruit by June. Harvesting outdoor tomatoes started in the first week in July, compared with previous years where seeds were started in March and therefore first fruit did not appear until mid August, giving a shorter season as the weather always starts to change come 1st of September. I would only manage 2 harvests at best. This year I have had 5 harvests, of Tomatoes so far and each harvest weighing around 2 or 3 kg.
No matter how big the harvests there are always some green tomatoes which will not ripen in time to make Passata. And if you have been unfortunate and blight has hit your plants just before tomatoes start to ripen, Here’s a simple recipe making the most use of these green tomatoes.
This recipe requires overnight brining. Slice 250g of green tomatoes and 1 medium red onion. Place all vegetables in a bowl and add 2 tablespoon of salt and enough water to cover. Place a small saucer to weigh down the vegetables. Leave in a cool place or refrigerator overnight.
Next day, rinse the tomato onion mix, and allow to drain. The option of using ground Mixed Spice
or make your own. I prefer to make my own.
Take a quarter teaspoon of chilli flakes, fennel seeds and Cummin Seeds with 3 or 4 cloves, a couple of All Spice pepper
, a small stick of Cinnamon, a little mace and place in a motar, and pound down with a pestle.
Once pounded down grate a little nutmeg and add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Place spice mix in a small bowl and set aside.
In a non reactive Pan, pour in 100ml of organic Cider Vinegar adding 125g light brown Muscovado Sugar and freshly ground mixed spice.
Place pan on low heat until the sugar had dissolved into the vinegar, add 30g of Sultanas (roughly chopped or kept whole). Stir. Now add the tomato onion mix, stirring occasionally until all liquid has disappeared and consistency and texture start to become thick, sticky and dark. This cooking down process should take around 25 minutes for this amount.
Carefully fill a clean sterilised hot jar with tomato onion relish and close jar with a tight fitting lid.
Ready to use as soon as the jar has cooled down and will keep for up to 2 months once the jar has been opened.
Hope you get a chance to make this lovely Relish, forget the sandwich filling, it now accompanies my cheese board washed down with a lovely glass of port or two. Made just in time for those cold nights in.