Marisa McClellan

Marisa McClellan - Credit Steve Legato

Marisa McClellan’s established prowess as a canning authority makes her a unique specialist when it comes to using great Pennsylvania produce. As a full-time food writer and canning teacher, she has a wealth of knowledge and skill when it comes to coaxing amazing flavors from veggies and preserving them for later.

Her blog, Food in Jars, is an inspiring and insightful look into the many possibilities with pickling, preserving, canning and more. Marisa’s recipe for Tomato Chutney from her newest cookbook, Naturally Sweet in Food Jars, is sweet, spicy and complex. If you’re looking to go beyond the same ‘ole flavors, it’s a perfect (and delicious) way to shake things up.

“This spicy, Indian-inspired chutney is one that I use a lot when I need to elevate a motley assortment of leftovers into lunch or a solo dinner,” said Marisa. “It never fails to flavorfully marry things like wilted arugula, day-old cooked millet and a single soft boiled egg into a fancy grain bowl worthy of Instagram. If you crave it in the off-season, it works surprisingly well with canned tomatoes.”

Marisa McClellan - Tomato Chutney - Credit Steve Legato

Recipe: Tomato Chutney

Makes 6 (half-pint/250 ml) jars

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
  • 5 pounds/2.3 kg plum or Roma tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 2½ cups/590 ml white distilled vinegar
  • 1½ cups/225 g coconut sugar
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion
  • 1 cup/160 ml golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. In a dry pan, toast all the seeds together until they begin to pop and smell fragrant. Pour the seeds into a small bowl and combine with the cayenne. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, combine the vinegar and coconut sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the prepared tomatoes, onion, raisins and spices. Stir to combine and bring to a bubble. Cook for between 1 and 1½ hours, stirring often until the tomatoes have reduced by about one-half and developed a thick, spreadable consistency.
  3. When the chutney is 15 to 20 minutes away from completion, prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 half-pint/250 ml jars.
  4. When the chutney is finished cooking, remove it from the heat. Funnel it into the prepared jars, leaving a ½ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Tips from Marisa McClellan

  • The great thing about chutneys is that they are mindless preserves to make. You heap all the ingredients in the pot and cook it down, stirring occasionally. You only need to pay good attention in the last 10 minutes of cooking, when burning is something of a risk.
  • There is no better preserve to liven up a grain bowl or a plate of scrambled eggs than a little dollop of chutney.
  • Chutney doesn't only need to be thought of as a condiment. It's also an awesome ingredient. Next time you want to give your homemade hummus an easy upgrade, add two or three tablespoons of chutney to the food processor. It's an instant flavor boost.

Written by Nathan Greenwood
Recipe by Marisa McLellan
Photos by Steve Legato