One of my favourite activities in the whole universe is catching up on the previous Monday's Q and A on iview while I make tamarillo chutney. The producers of Q and A always rig up some sort of semblance of political pluralism on the show's panels, which means that there's invariably someone by whom I can be righteously appalled. There's nothing like fulminating against the freedom commissioner while chopping onions, unless it's spluttering over Tony Jones' perennial habit of giving his gentleman guests more talking time than his lady guests while I manhandle tamarillo skins into the compost bucket.
Our Number 1 Tamarillo has been festooned with red baubles for a month now (the Number 2 Tamarillo, on the other hand, is being oppressed by a banana passionfruit vine and so has no fruit). They're one of those fruits that costs about $50 a kg if you buy them individually cradled in plastic at your local supermarket, or you can get hold of a sapling for about $6, and spend the next three years trying to find ways to use them up. This latter, as you might have guessed, is my situation. I don't love eating them fresh, 'cause, while they're tasty, they leave a bit of a sting round my mouth. Chutneyfied, on the other hand, these guys are excellent. We get through a lot of chutney round here, on account of how I make about 58 serves of lentil curry per week, which lentil curry certain members of the household find pretty unenthralling unless it's doused in condiments.
Whatcha need, to make tamarillo chutney, is a kilo or so of tamarillos, a couple of onions, a couple of garlic cloves, a teaspoonful of the dried chilli that's been in your cupboard for six years, a bit of ginger root (grated), a handful of raisins, mustard seeds (optional), 1.5 cups of sugar, 1 cup of white vinegar. And some jars, and some pots, and a source of heat, and a spoon. Also some mechanism for broadcasting Q and A in your kitchen on a Saturday morning.
Tamarillos are best skinned via the time-honoured process of scoring them with a cross (quel seasonal!), and dunking them for half a minute in scalding water. Then you slip the skins off and accumulate an attractive pile of orange mush:
The orange mush gets chucked into your chutney-brewing pot with all the other ingredients, and simmered and stirred until it reduces down to a jammy gloop. Then you pop it into the jars that you've been sterilising, and screw the lids on and water-bath them for ten minutes.
Which leaves another 3 kg of tamarillos on the Number 1 Tamarillo tree.