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How to Make Green Tomato Chutney
Using Surplus Green Tomatoes From Your Greenhouse
Grow your own tomatoes and have lots of green ones still on the plants at the end of the growing season. Then why not try your hand at using them to make 'Green Tomato Chutney'.
You'll not be disappointed, it's as good as any you can buy in the shops, if not better. It's certainly a lot cheaper than buying the chutney, and having made it yourself it'll be very satisfying to enjoy the fruits of your labours next summer; when relaxing in your garden while having 'green tomato chutney' with your Ploughman's on the patio.
Recipe for Green Tomato Chutney
This recipe makes 3 Kgs (6 Ib. 10 oz.); vary the quantities in proportion to how much green tomatoes you have to hand e.g. if 1 Kg of tomatoes then halve all the other ingredients accordingly.
- Prep time: 30 min
- Cook time: 2 hours 30 min
- Ready in: 3 hours
- Yields: >6lbs.
- Green Tomatoes - 2 Kg (4 Ib. 6 oz.)
- Onions (three large onions) - 400 grams (14 oz.)
- Vinegar - 400 mls (14 fl oz.)
- Soft Brown Sugar - 400 grams (14 oz.)
- Sultanas - 800 grams (1 Ib. 12 oz.)
- 2 level teaspoons salt
- 1 level teaspoon pepper
- 1 clove garlic (crushed)
- 1 level teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 level teaspoon ground mixed spices
- Coarsely shred the tomatoes and onions e.g. in a food mixture; but ensure the ingredients are coarsely shred and not finely chopped.
- Put the coarsely shred tomatoes and onions into a large saucepan or preserving pan with half the vinegar e.g. 200 mls (7 fl oz.) of vinegar.
- Cover the saucepan (preserving pan) and simmer for half an hour.
- Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
- Pour in the remaining vinegar, the sultanas, and all other ingredients.
- Simmer uncovered on a low heat for two and a half hours, occasionally stirring.
- Pour into jars while still warm, add lids and label.
Growing Tomatoes in a greenhouse or outside is easiest enough; it's one of the easiest crops to grow, and barring exceptionally poor summers (which we seem to get a lot of in Britain these days) they are almost guaranteed to produce a good, if not a bumper crop. Then at the end of the growing season you invariably have a surplus of green and ripe tomatoes; traditionally the green tomatoes being harvested and stored somewhere dark and warm to continue ripening, or if it's a big glut then preserving them as for example green tomato chutney
From Garden to Kitchen
Using Your Surplus Unripe Green Tomatoes at the End of the Growing Season
If you grow your own tomatoes outdoors in Britain the climate is rarely ideal; the growing season is short, they ripen late in the season and invariably come mid-September (just before the threat of frosts) you’re left with lots of green tomatoes which traditionally most people pick and store in a warm dark place until they ripen, often the airing cupboard. Alternatively, you could use them to make green tomato chutney.
I prefer to grow my tomatoes in an unheated greenhouse; the growing season is significantly longer (you’re harvesting tomatoes from July), crops are heavier and by late October or early November you’re picking the last of the ripe tomatoes with just a few green tomatoes to pick and store in the kitchen to ripen.
However, a few years ago the British summer and autumn didn’t favour the growing and ripening of tomatoes, even in the greenhouse although plenty of tomatoes grew there just wasn’t enough sun to ripen them so come the end of the season I still had 2 Kgs (4.4 Ibs) of green unripe tomatoes on the plants; too many to pick to try to ripen in the house.
So I used this surplus of green tomatoes to make ‘Green Tomato Chutney’ which once made I sampled as I spooned into the jam jars; and it was so yummy it’s definitely something I’ll do again next time I have a surplus of green tomatoes at the end of the growing season.
The Making of Green Tomato Chutney
Using What You Have to Hand
This was the first time I tried my hand at making tomato chutney so I browsed the web and delved into recipe books for ideas.
I found a couple of recipes on the web I liked and a couple in cook books. Apart from one recipe I found that included apples they all basically used the same ingredients with similar instructions for preparation and cooking; but each recipe was slightly different and none was quite what I was looking for.
So I sat down with a cup of coffee and thought about it and ended up making my own recipe which although is based on the four recipes I found which sounded promising has been modified to use the ingredients I had to hand, and to suit my taste; or at least what I thought I might like, and as it turned out it is to my taste.
By growing our own summer and winter crops in our back garden and freezing our surplus vegetables and preserving the surplus fruits, and sometimes making fruit pies to freeze not only do we provide ourselves with wholesome and healthy organic home grown fruit and veg all year round but it also saves a small fortune on our shopping bill. And growing and eating your home grown produce is so satisfying.
Variation on the Recipe
Sultanas and Spices
At a later date when I had just 500 grams (approx. 1 Ib.) of green tomatoes I tried a small batch without any sultanas, reducing the amount of vinegar and sugar by a quarter to compensate.
It was just as yummy but smoother, although in the long run the original recipe does keep much longer e.g. years, whereas the recipe with less sugar and vinegar does ideally need to be used within the first year.
So if you want to add fewer sultanas or omit them altogether it's not critical to the success of this recipe but it would pay to experiment in small batches and decide for yourself how you like your homemade chutneys.
Likewise I chose mixed spices for seasoning but if there are any specific spices you're particularly fond of then try adding a pinch of that too.
When looking for ideas on preserving the fritts of your labour then try this handy to have book in your kitchen.
I mentioned Ploughman's Lunch in my introduction as an ideal meal for having with green tomato chutney; of course green tomato chutney will go with any menu where you would normally include chutney including quiche and chips or egg salad etc. but unless you're British you may not familiar with a Ploughman which is a traditional British cold snack normally eaten outside for lunch on a hot summers day with a pint of beer e.g. on your patio.
The concept of a Ploughman’s is a vision of a Ploughman having his midday lunch in the field being ploughed and his lunch consisting of all the farm produce readily available to a small farm holding (homestead) e.g. apples, cider, pickle, onions, cheese, butter, home baked bread, salads, tomatoes, eggs etc.
The modern ploughman’s lunch can consist of a few additional ingredients, such as crisps (known as chips in America) for added flavour but the concept is that as long as the chunky bread and cheese is there then it’s a ploughman’s.
Ploughmans Serving Suggestions
Vital and Suggested Ingredients for a Good Ploughman
For those not familiar with a Ploughman then a good Ploughman's lunch generally contains the following ingredients:-
- A thick chunk of crusty bread from a loaf (not sliced bread) or a cob.
- Plenty of butter.
- A thick chunk of hard cheese e.g. Cheddar, Stilton etc.
- A little Salad, especially lettuce and tomato.
- A few slices of raw onion.
- Optionally a few crisps (which in American is chips), and
- Pickle, traditionally Branston pickle; or in this case green tomato chutney.
You can vary the ingredients of your Ploughman to include an apple, tomato, hardboiled egg etc., but if you use sliced bread and/or grated cheese (or a soft cheese) then you don't have a ploughman, you just have a cheese salad with bread and butter which doesn't taste the same and certainly isn't as appetising as a ploughman's lunch.