Green tomato, hot pepper, & rhubarb chutney

Another vine fell victim to the pounding of midnight rain this week. I gathered the fallen fruit, dusted their battered bodies, and dressed them in a dish towel for their final hour.

While I mourned their ruddy potential, I knew this time around that the under ripe tomatoes could be put to good use.

When the time came, I chopped the tiny cherry fruits in half, threw them in a pot, and added a few stalks of the last of this season's rhubarb. The two stewed slowly together over the gas flame, strands of rhubarb melting into beading seeds and softening fruit. I threw in a few slices of hot pepper, a dash of vinegar, and a spoonful of honey and left the pot to simmer.

The liquid slowly evaporated, leaving a steaming stew of tart fruits and spice. The mid-summer chutney will be the perfect topping for tonight's catch: the first of the season's striped bass, char-grilled and fresh from the bay.


Makes 1 pint

In a saucepan combine 1 cup chopped green tomatoes, 1 cup chopped rhubarb, 1/2 cup chopped green onion (or 1 small chopped green onion), 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped hot peppers, pickled or fresh, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat over medium flame until all ingredients soften into a thick chutney. Can and process in hot water bath or spoon into a sterile jar and refrigerate for up to 4 months. Serve cool or hot over grilled fish or poultry.

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