Green Tomato Chutney (Or, What to Do With a Bumper Crop)
This past May, we bought one small tomato plant from a local garden fete. It cost only 0.75 GPB (equivalent to about 1 USD), but this humble plant grew into one of our most successful tomato plants ever. Now, I love tomatoes—but such a large crop can be problematic. The question became: What should I do with such a huge bounty?
Green Tomato Chutney
I decided to try my hand at making green tomato chutney. I searched online for a basic recipe and then adapted it to our taste. The basic recipe for any chutney includes vinegar, sugar, and some sort of fruit.
I reduced the amount of green tomatoes in the recipe so that I could include some red tomatoes, as well. Inventive cooking can be disastrous—but sometimes it can result in a recipe worth handing down for generations. Hopefully, I have achieved the latter.
- 2 1/2 kilograms green tomatoes, finely sliced
- 1/2 kilogram onions and shallots, peeled and finely sliced
- 1/2 bulb garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 30 grams salt
- 1/2 litre malt vinegar
- 1/2 litre white wine vinegar
- 1/2 kilogram soft light brown sugar
- 1/2 kilogram soft dark brown sugar
- 250 grams sultanas, roughly chopped
- 15 grams ground black pepper
Photo TutuorialClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Wash and finely slice the tomatoes. Before slicing, be sure to remove any blemished skin or flesh.
- Peel, wash, and finely slice the onions, shallots, and garlic.
- Place the sliced tomatoes, onions, shallots, and garlic in a large pot or pan. I used a large enamel pan.
- If you have time to allow the mixture to sit overnight (this step cuts down on the cooking time): Add 30 grams salt and mix well. Cover with cling film (plastic wrap), a large plate, or a lid. Leave overnight. The following morning, drain the mixture but do not rinse it. Not rinsing is important. Transfer the drained mixture to a large bowl.
- If you do not have time to leave the pot overnight: Add only 15 grams of salt. Set aside.
- In a clean pan, add the vinegar and turn the heat to low.
- Add the sugar to the vinegar and turn the heat up slightly, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the liquid to a boil.
- Add the sultanas and turn the heat down. Stir well and then return to a boil.
- Add the tomato mixture to the pan. (Before adding to the pan, it may be necessary to drain the mixture again.) Stir well, add pepper, and cook on a low boil for 1 to 2 hours. (Judging when the chutney is finished will take experience. I found that the mixture had thickened and reduced after about two hours of cooking.)
- Scrupulously clean the jars you are going to use for the chutney. Stand the jars upside down on a tray in the oven. Turn the oven heat to its lowest setting.
- When the chutney is done cooking, carefully remove the warm jars from the oven and stand them on a clean surface. Use a plastic funnel and soup ladle to fill the jars with the chutney.
- Wipe away any spills or residue that end up on the outside of the jars or rims. Tap the filled jars to remove any air bubbles.
- Using a jam or preserves pot-cover set, place the wax disc wax-side down on the top of each jar before adding a dampened cellophane disc. Secure with a rubber band. As the jar cools, the cellophane will shrink to provide a tight seal.
A Very Tasty Result
This recipe makes a tangy but tasty chutney. I sampled a couple of spoonfuls with some strong cheddar cheese—and the verdict was delicious. I still have plenty of green and red tomatoes remaining, so I plan to make a sweeter chutney soon by tweaking the recipe above.
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Hints and Tips
- Wash utensils, pots, and pans as you go.
- The smell of vinegar, onion, and garlic is quite strong. It is advisable to open windows.
- Initially, I was not sure how finely to slice the ingredients. As the chutney cooked on the stove, I used a large pair of sharp scissors to cut the tomatoes and onions into smaller-sized pieces.
- If you are not using a jam or preserves pot-cover set, use a double layer of cling film to cover the filled jars. When the chutney cools, the cling film cover will shrink back and provide a good seal. Add a screw lid when the jar has completely cooled.
- If the jars are properly sealed, the chutney should be good for at least six months.
More About My Productive Tomato Plant
As I said earlier, we bought this plant this past May from a local garden fete. It was only a small plant, costing just 0.75 pounds, but it grew into one of our most successful tomato plants ever.
This one plant supplied so many tomatoes, it seemed we had a veritable monster on our hands! While harvesting, we found a dozen or so ripe tomatoes close to the base, which had previously been hidden by leaves. We found even more that had been obscured by the canes we used to help support the plant as it grew.
Yes, It's Just One Plant!Click thumbnail to view full-size
How I Cared for the Plant
The plant spent its first two weeks in a pot at a relative's home, as we were going on vacation. As soon as we returned home, I potted the plant in a large wooden trough in our back garden next to some small strawberry plants and garlic chives.
This past summer here in the UK was exceptional, with consistently high daytime temperatures and warm nights. The downside, however, was long periods without rain. The weather here was great for people on vacation—but not so much for gardeners.
Practically every evening, I watered this tomato plant. I also used an organic feed, though probably not as frequently as recommended. The whole bottle cost around £3 (equivalent to about 4 USD), and there is still plenty left. I did not use any insect repellent sprays on the plant at all. The biggest threat to the plant was the occasional snail or slug, which I removed as soon as I spotted them.
Your Feedback Is Appreciated
Thank you for reading my article, and I hope it inspires you to make a batch of sweet and tangy green tomato chutney. Please share any feedback, suggestions, or other ideas you may have in the comments section, below!
© 2018 Ethel Smith