It’s that time of the year…summer (for want of a better name) is fading and if your garden has a bunch of still-green tomatoes in it that are unlikely to grow any more or ripen then do not throw them away. Turn them into green tomato chutney and for less than a tenner you can have some rather nice gifts ready to hand out at Christmas…and here’s how it is done.
Preparation Time: c.20 mins
Cooking Time: Around 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours (just keep tasting it now & again)
Serves: You will get 10 to 12 small jars worth
Around 2kg of green tomatoes (or a mix of green, orange & red)
3 or 4 Large Onions
2 Large Cooking Apples
500g Light Muscovado Sugar
1.14 Litre of Spiced Pickling Vinegar (buy the Sarsons one from a supermarket)
You will also probably need to buy some jars…fear not, just plan a trip to Wilkinsons (Wilko) and get their own brand box of 12 round 190ml jars. You’ll find them near the baking and kitchen supplies area. They cost a fiver and are perfect. Make sure the jars you use have plastic coated lids on the inside as vinegar will eventually corrode all-metal lids.
NB: They will need to be sterilised though (see below)
Roughly chop the tomatoes and onions up and place in a bowl
Remove the apple cores and chop up the apples
Pour the pickling vinegar into a large pan, add all of the sugar and turn up the heat
Stir the vinegar mix in the pan until it comes to the boil then turn down to a simmer, add the apple and cook for around 12 minutes
Add in all of the tomatoes, onion and sultanas and bring back to the boil
Simmer the green tomato chutney mix for around an hour and a half – it will eventually start to take on a stickier, thicker consistency and turn a deeper brown colour and that is when it is ready!
Make sure you give it a good stir fairly regularly to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan as it can ruin a pan if left to its own devices for ages.
While it is cooking you need to build in some time to sterilise the jars and lids as this is important so that the finished green tomato chutney will not go manky over time…you never know what bacteria might be lurking inside those new jars even though the look so clean!
The easiest way to do this if you have a baby is to get the microwave steriliser going in the same way you would sterilise baby’s bottle. Just put the jars in the steriliser and run it as usual. REMEMBER though, if you are using a microwave steriliser then you MUST NOT put the jar lids in…microwave and metal do not play well together! For the lids just get a pan of water boiling and drop the lids in and let them dance around in the boiling water for 5 minutes.
If you don’t have a steriliser then you can wash the jars and lids in very, very hot water and let them drain then transfer them to an oven at 150 degrees centigrade for around ten minutes.
Try to time all of this so that the jars will still be warm when the chutney is finished cooking, so maybe start the process when there is around twenty minutes of cooking time left. Don’t worry about ‘over-cooking’ the chutney; you can keep it going for a little bit longer than 2 hours without it spoiling.
MAKE SURE that you transfer warm chutney to warm jars, or if you are going to leave it to cool in the pan for a while then make sure you transfer cold chutney to cold jars…do not put hot chutney in cold jars or cold chutney in hot jars as it will affect the product.
In this particular batch there wasn’t a single drop of chutney wasted as the pan became more or less completely empty when the twelth jar was full (aside from 2 more spoonfuls)…I wish I could say it was the precision of my measuring of ingredients but it was in fact complete luck!
Try and keep the rims and sides of the jars clean as you are transferring the green tomato chutney into them and be careful if you are using hot jars…make sure you wear an oven glove or wrap teatowels around the hand you are holding the jar in. This also protects you from spilling hot chutney on your hand too…which does hurt, trust me!
The finished article is a very satisfying thing to behold. Twelve shiny jars full of the fruits of your garden and your own labours. This is one of those great cooking exercises where you really do feel like you have achieved something and they are such a great thing to gift to people…just look at them 🙂
For the finishing touches, make some labels, stick them on and plan who you will give a jar to…but make sure you keep some yourself as green tomato chutney tastes best when you make it yourself.
Now, let’s hope someone hasn’t nicked all the cheese out of the fridge as I am proper hungry now!