Currant and Green Tomato Chutney
1 1/2 cups currants
2 1/4 cups green tomatoes, chopped
2 1/4 cups tart apples, peeled and chopped
1 lemon, seeds removed, quartered, sliced thin
1 cup onions, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon mustard seed
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Combine all ingredients. Simmer for 20 minutes or until fruit is soft. Pakc into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust seals and process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. It was supposed to yield two pints but I doubled the recipe and ended up with about five pints. One curious thing about this recipe is that it didn't specify whether to use red currants of black currants. Either would probably work, but the results would be very different.
This morning Terry Johnson and his wife stopped by the bee store. For those who have visited the store, Terry is the man in the poster wearing a swarm of bees on his head. In addition to our shared obsession with honeybees, Terry is also an avid gardener and canner. I told him of my efforts to use up my supply of green tomatoes and how I had made both green tomato salsa and green tomato chutney. He then offered to share with me some of his surplus supply of hot and sweet peppers and his bumper crop of tomatillos. I was pleased to learn that tomatillos grow very well in our climate and are not susceptible to the inevitable late blight that plagues regular tomatoes. Tomatillos do so well here that Terry only planted them on purpose the first year that he grew them. Since that time he has had tomatillos volunteering in his garden every spring. It has simply been a matter of pulling up the ones he didn't want or transplanting them to an appropriate spot in his garden.
In addition to peppers and tomatillos we also discussed seed saving and I was offered all the scarlet runner bean seeds I would like. Terry also informed me that he grew Yin Yang dry beans this year and they did very well despite our lack of normal summer warmth. I would think that any dry bean which performed well in weather such as we had this past summer is definitely well adapted for the Maritime Northwest. I had already noticed this variety in the Territorial Seeds catalog which listed a maturity time of 75 days. The beans get their name from the fact that they look like a three dimensional depiction of the familiar Chinese symbol. As one of my children was once fond of saying, "Cool beans!"