Green Tomato Chutney

small chutneyFollowing a phone call with my sister where we talked about tomato blight and what to do with the fruits themselves she commented that she’d like to make some chutney. I make it every year as there are always tomatoes that won’t ripen, and those plants that have been struck by blight are less likely to ripen, in my experience anyway, what happens is that the green tomatoes develop yellowy brownish blotches, so I try to make the chutney before I lose to many to the manky blight.

The recipe I have developed over the years originally came from Keith Floyd on the BBC website, after looking through a load I chose this one as it was the most straightforward. My Green Tomato Chutney variations have been well praised so here is the basic recipe and tips from my 10 or so batches.

The picture shows the sweet version on the left, hot on the right and on the plate.

GREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY the basic quantities

2kg green tomatoes roughly chopped, I often take out the white “core” from where the tomato was attached to the plant, especially in Marmande toms where it is often large, with cherry toms I just chuck them in whole.
500g apples cored and roughly chopped, I have used various varieties over the years sometimes free from friends (or from my trees when they produce any!) and once or twice I have bought cooking apples, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the taste, you may want to use slightly more sugar if using cooking apples.
625g onions chopped, I have used home grown or bought.
8-10 chillies and 15g root ginger, I have used lots of different spice variations see section below.
250g raisins or sultanas, I use the cheapest ‘no brand’ ones available around 85p for 500g, once I had started without checking I had all the ingredients and used some dates instead.
500g brown sugar, I have given up using brown sugar due to the expense, I add some molasses, which is all the good stuff left over from the refining process I usually add 1 dessertspoon of molasses.
570 ml malt vinegar, I again use the cheapest ‘no brand’ possible about 40p.
2 teaspoons salt.

Start with a very large pan, preferably not aluminium or enamel due to the acidic nature of the chutney. However I use a 10 litre (30 cm diameter 20 cm high) old aluminium catering pan, just don’t leave it longer in the pan than you need to.
Put in the chopped toms, onion and apple and turn on the heat (chop to a size appropriate for you, smaller size will take less time to cook and provide a more spreadable chutney, but will take longer to chop!) I often turn on the heat as I am still chopping, the green tomatoes can take ages to soften, add the vinegar when all the toms, onion and apple are in. After about half an hour add all the other ingredients and stir until the sugar has dissolved, cook gently and stir frequently until the chutney is the consistency you like. I usually do this for around 2 hours, but there is no set temperature as with jam, the chutney will thicken a little as it cools, so decide how you like yours-for sandwiches or as an accompaniment for main meals.
The house does end up smelling vinegary and spicy.
About 1/4 of an hour before it will be ready put some jars, (about 20 clean preused jars of various sizes) on a baking tray in the oven at 100 degrees Celsius. Keep the lids separate and make sure they are clean and dry. It’s better to have too many than too few jars, if using kilner type jars take the rubber seal off before putting in the oven.
Turn off the heat and leave for a few minutes, use a jug to scoop out some chutney and a jam funnel if you have one to fill the jars to about 1cm below the rim of the jars. When you have used it all up use a very clean wet cloth to wipe any spills away, especially from the screw thread on the jars. Screw on the lids tightly and leave the jars to cool if the lids have a pop up section in the middle that should pop in as the jars cool, if some don’t do that use them first as the seal will not be as good. Label, (it’s amazing how quickly one forgets which recipe was used or the year it was made!) A  well sealed jar should last for many years, if reusing jars the lids can sometimes deteriorate especially if they have been used several times, watch out for signs of rust.

SPICES

I have variously used whole or ground chilli, TOWPCOE loves the hot versions to which I add lots of chilli.

Sometimes I have used a range of spices, I personally don’t like cinnamon very much so don’t use it. The smell of the bubbling mixture will give you an idea of the finished taste (except for chilli which is tricky to judge), so do experiment with flavours you like.

Most of my batches have been just ginger and chilli, chop the ginger finely, I have usually doubled the amount of ginger. For a hot version I have used 10-12 teaspoons of powdered chilli, but different batches of chilli will have different heats so it is quite tricky to work out how much to use.

Hot chutneys will fade in heat over time, so don’t worry if you add too much chilli it will be edible at some point!

A sweet one from last year which went down well with my sister had…

125g extra sultanas,

almost twice as much sugar which was probably a little excessive, try 750g,

1 tsp hot chilli powder

10g ground coriander

20g mustard seeds

20g ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

and an extra large dessertspoon of molasses.

Another spicy version…

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp chilli

3 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 tsp salt

and some orange zest and juice.

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