I HAVE A CROP OF BATTERED-LOOKING APPLES and a lot of green tomatoes, and won’t be winning any prizes at the county fair with either harvest. But where’s my old mincemeat recipe gone to, the one that uses large quantities of both? Easy: Just look for the cookbook with pages that are all smeared and tattered, as canning is a sticky affair.
Up here in the Hudson Valley/Berkshires area, where the apples come in fast in fall, I make applesauce as fast as I can to freeze. A batch of mincemeat sounds about right, too, especially from a recipe minus the traditional beef suet. This one’s vegetarian.
The recipe is from “Stocking Up II,” a Rodale cookbook of 1980s vintage that has since been reissued in a third version. The most-disfigured spread in my copy: the one with ‘Currant and Green Tomato Chutney,’ which uses loads of apples as well. If a waste-not, want-not mood seizes you in the not-too-distant future, here’s the recipe. (I figured you couldn’t read it from the splattered pages above.)
currant and green tomato chutney (aka mincemeat)
3 cups currants (or raisins)
4-1/2 cups finely chopped green tomatoes
4-1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped tart apples
2 lemons, seeded, quartered and sliced thin
2 cups minced onions
2 cloves garlic
½ cup honey
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
2 Tablespoons mustard seed
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Prepare ingredients as above, or put the tomatoes and apples through a meat grinder. Then combine all and simmer until fruit is soft (at least 20 minutes, probably more). Pack into hot, scalded jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Seal and process for 5 minutes in a boiling-water bath.
The recipe yields enough chutney, which is recommended by the cookbook author (and me) as a substitute for mincemeat, to fill 6 one-pint jars. I also pack it in some larger ones for pie filling…but the pint size is perfect for spooning over a lot of bowls of vanilla ice cream. (Did somebody remember to make a batch of ginger snaps to go with that?)