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How to Make Green Tomato Chutney

Updated on April 2, 2017
Nathanville profile image

As a vegetarian I am always looking for innovative ways to make meals interesting and tasty as well as nutritious for the whole family.

Homemade green tomato chutney.
Homemade 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.

Cook Time

  • 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


  1. Coarsely shred the tomatoes and onions e.g. in a food mixture; but ensure the ingredients are coarsely shred and not finely chopped.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover the saucepan (preserving pan) and simmer for half an hour.
  4. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  5. Pour in the remaining vinegar, the sultanas, and all other ingredients.
  6. Simmer uncovered on a low heat for two and a half hours, occasionally stirring.
  7. Pour into jars while still warm, add lids and label.
4.5 stars from 2 ratings of GREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY RECIPE
You Bet Your Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes: How to Grow Great-Tasting Tomatoes in Any Backyard, Garden, or Container
You Bet Your Garden Guide to Growing Great Tomatoes: How to Grow Great-Tasting Tomatoes in Any Backyard, Garden, or Container

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.

Green Tomato Chutney in Jam Jars
Green Tomato Chutney in Jam Jars
The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables
The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables

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.

The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round
The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving: Over 300 Recipes to Use Year-Round

When looking for ideas on preserving the fritts of your labour then try this handy to have book in your kitchen.


Ploughmans Lunch

The Concept

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.

Ploughman's, buttered bread rolls, crisps (potato chips in American), hard boiled eggs, onion rings, salad and tomatoes with green tomato chutney.
Ploughman's, buttered bread rolls, crisps (potato chips in American), hard boiled eggs, onion rings, salad and tomatoes with green tomato chutney.

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:-

  1. A thick chunk of crusty bread from a loaf (not sliced bread) or a cob.
  2. Plenty of butter.
  3. A thick chunk of hard cheese e.g. Cheddar, Stilton etc.
  4. A little Salad, especially lettuce and tomato.
  5. A few slices of raw onion.
  6. Optionally a few crisps (which in American is chips), and
  7. 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.

Home Grown vs Shop Bought

Do You Grow Your Own Tomatoes?

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Do you grow your tomatoes in the greenhouse or outside in the vegetable garden - Do you have any growing tips

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    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 5 months ago from England

      Thanks for all your advice, tips and comments; greatly appreciated.

    • kitchenalia profile image

      Nathan 5 years ago from Ontario Canada

      if you are going to grow heritage tomatoes, make sure you tie them up or have a sturdy cage. They grow bigger than most hybrids.

    • Julia1000 profile image

      Julia1000 5 years ago

      Like the idea of including ideas of how to use green chutney. I like using it as an alternative to mango chutney when I have a curry.

    • Thomo85 profile image

      Thomo85 5 years ago

      I tried growing them outside but it is just to hot here and we are on rainwater tank so don't really have enough water to spare. Bit sad about it really.

    • profile image

      barbiefashionistas 5 years ago

      I have never heard of Green Tomato Chutney, but you made me wanting it now.

    • Deadicated LM profile image

      Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      Fantastic Lens, photos, and I love the labels you made; that's such a cool green house. Awesome!!! Thanks for sharing your recipe for green tomato chutney.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I actually received a box of tomatoes in the mail just a few days ago and am feasting on them and there are some green have me craving green tomato chutney and I hadn't even heard of it until just now....a very nice presentation!

    • nic00 profile image

      nic00 5 years ago

      old window are good for building warmhouse