Sunday, 7 October 2012

Emergency Chutney Recipe

Having spent a particularly fine night in the Lake District (no space to chat about here, this isn't a travel blog!), we got home yesterday to find that all was not well with the green tomatoes I had salvaged from Toni's discarded plants. A few looked like they were trying to ripen a bit, but a good number of them had developed some scabby bits on the exterior and some had gone full blown mouldy. They had only been sat on a windowsill for two days, so all this seemed a bit odd, if not quite distressing. Clearly the change in scenery had not been to their taste.

Well, mouldy green tomatoes are not to my taste, so I threw out all the ones which were, like the Canaanites in the Old Testament, beyond redemption, which left about half a kilo (of tomatoes that is, not Canaanites). The plan for all these under-ripe toms had been that they would sit on a windowsill and slowly ripen over the coming weeks, supplying us with a constant supply of smugness as we adorned our salads with proper tomatoes, none of that supermarket rubbish etc. Well, clearly that plan was now lying in tatters and we needed a new one. All of which preamble is a very long way of saying the following: last night I made some green tomato chutney.

I'd never made any kind of chutney before, so briefly scoured t'internet before settling on a Nigel Slater recipe which I adapted slightly - his calls for half and half green/red toms; having no red ones, I upped the sugar a bit, and I substituted some pickling spices for the specified yellow mustard seeds.


450g green tomatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
175g red onions, chopped
45g raisins
135g light muscovado sugar
1 tsp maldon or other decent salt
2 tsp pickling spices (not sure what's in this precisely as I got it from a local Asian store and there's no ingredients on it. There's definitely some dried chili, mace, mustard seed and fennel seed, but loads of other mysterious stuff too. I reckon you could put whatever seeds and spices you fancy in here depending on taste)
175ml white wine vinegar


This is not a complex recipe. All you do is bung everything in a stainless steel pan, bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer for an hour. That's it! The kitchen smells pretty great as it's cooking, a bit wintery/ christmassy from all the spices. I stirred a couple of times to check it wasn't sticking to the pan and took the lid off for the last 10 mins as there was still a fair amount of liquid at that point. This recipe made enough to fill one medium sized kilner jar.

Ready to cook
After approx 30 mins cooking
I tasted some while it was still hot and it was great. You could taste the tomatoes, but the spices had given it a real kick, it almost tasted like an Indian style chutney, which isn't very surprising considering where I got the spices from. Once cooled down it was still great, but a bit less noticeably spicy. I really like how the tomatoes, raisins and onions are still distinguishable and haven't completely collapsed or turned into mush.

Like that annoying Jock says "Green tomato chutney? Done!"
So, if you've got a bunch of unripe toms that you think might not go red before they go bad, I can heartily recommend this. I'm now off to look for other things to chutney...


  1. Our tomatoes are now ripening quickly so we have had red tomato chutney.

    Oops - am I not allowed non gardening posts on my blog. I'm a woman I am allowed to flit around topics.

  2. I have a few green tomatoes but they aren't destined for chutney...I found something very different to do with them at the weekend!!

    I too talk about everything that isn't 'allotment' on my allotments just have to go with the flow!!

  3. I'm sure you can talk about whatever you like Sue!


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