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Green With Tomatoes

Let’s face it, I am a bad tomato farmer.

I don’t know why that should be – I mean, tomatoes and potatoes are family. Be that as it may, the tomato branch of the clan comes in for the poor relation treatment in my garden. I never pinch out the tomatoey side shoots as they develop, even though I know I should. As a result, my tomato plants invariably end up an unruly mess, largely neglected and, because I grow them out of doors in an Irish summer, the harvest is, at best, decidedly green in colour.

Green Tomatoes

Spud's green tomatoes

Still, I redeem my poor farming ways by making the likes of green tomato chutney and mustard pickle with green tomatoes. And, who knows, with any luck, some of the harvest will eventually turn its proper colour after a few weeks indoors. The tomatoes won’t be anything like as sweet as those fully ripened on the vine, but they will still be better than what often passes for tomatoes in Irish supermarkets. As anybody who lives here knows, the tomatoes offered for sale in this country are very often a pale imitation of the real thing, which makes growing your own a particularly satisfying endeavour, even if, like me, you’re not exactly top of the tomato-farming class.

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Green Tomato Chutney

Green Tomato Chutney

I’m not entirely sure where this recipe came from. It’s written on a piece of paper and stuffed into one of my pickling books, which means that I got it from some book of my mother’s or maybe from my big sis #1. What I do know is that, like most chutneys, this really benefits from being left to mature. Right now, I am almost at the end of the last jar of last year’s batch, and, at almost 12 month old, it’s great. I’d give it at least a month stored somewhere cool and dark before breaking into your supply.

You’ll need:
  • 1.35kg green tomatoes
  • 2 large onions, about 400g
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, about 100g
  • 2 large cooking apples, about 750g
  • 550ml cider vinegar
  • 450g demerara sugar
  • 1 tblsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 large fresh red chili
  • 1 tsp allspice
You’ll also need:
  • Jars and non-corrosive lids for approx. 2.5 litres worth of chutney
The Steps:
  • Chop the tomatoes, onions and pepper and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt, toss to mix and set aside for an hour, then drain the vegetables into a colander.
  • Peel and chop the apples.
  • Put the vinegar and sugar in a large, heavy saucepan and add the drained vegetables, apples, cloves, mustard seeds, chili and allspice.
  • Bring to a boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat and simmer the mixture gently, uncovered, for about an hour, until all of the fruit and vegetables are completely soft and the mixture has reduced and thickened slightly.
  • While the chutney is simmering, you can prepare the jars. Turn your oven on to 140C. Wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and sterilise, either by boiling in water for 10 minutes and then drying in the oven or just by keeping the jars in the oven for at least 30 minutes before using. To sterilise the lids, dip in boiling water and allow to dry.
  • Pour the chutney into the hot, sterilised jars, to within 3mm of the tops and seal with the lids.
  • Allow the jars to cool and leave in cool, dark place to mature for at least 1 month, after which you can enjoy with some sharp cheeses or meats or maybe with some tomato-based curries.
The Variations:
  • The recipe as is does not have a strong chili bite, so add more chili if your tastes are that way inclined.
The Results:
  • Around 2.5 litres of chutney.

31 Comments

  1. sippitysup

    When life gives you green tomatoes, make chutney. That what I always say… weirdly I was considering a spicy green tomato relish myself this week. But opted for pickled peppers instead. Now I get to enjoy both. Thanks GREG

  2. Jenni

    I rather like the tang of a green tomato, so as far as I’m concerned, you’re doing great, DS! The chutney sound lovely. I’m sure your green lovelies are pleased to be a part of it!

  3. jenn

    It’s always nice to grow your own tomatoes. That chutney looks really good.

  4. The Diva on a Diet

    Oh how I love chutney and this one looks excellent, Spud! I’ve never been much for green tomatoes, but I can definitely get behind the chutney. Yum!

    On another note … Irish Summer … what’s that?! ;)

  5. Daily Spud

    sippitysup: pickles, chutneys, relishes, I’ll take ’em all!

    Jenni: ah thanks – and, sure, green being a rather patriotic colour in these parts, I guess I should be really rather proud :)

    jenn: home-grown stuff is good, there is no doubting that

    Diva: well spotted on the Irish Summer reference – the phrase is, of course, a contradiction in terms and was just a little something thrown in there to see if people were paying attention :D

  6. Heather

    i think there are so many delicious uses for green tomatoes, and you’ve definitely found one! they’re beautiful! i have nothing but love for green tomaters :)

  7. Kristen

    I have no luck when it comes to tomatoes, maybe one of the teeny varieties. Out summers are too short. As soon as the tomato is the right size, wham heavy frost.

    I love the green tomato chutney idea. Great!

  8. mom, again

    try pulling up the whole tomato plant, or at least a big branch of one, tomatoes and all, and hanging it until the tomatoes ripen. if you’ve got the whole plant, I think you are supposed to cut the root off and hang it from the stem, upside downish. if just a branch, then, whatever. I’m not sure on the rule, I live in California and tomatoes always ripen here. ;-)

  9. George@CulinaryTravels

    I love this idea for green tomato chutney. I’d be really pleased with the green tomatoes.

  10. OysterCulture

    You read my mind, I was just thinking about whipping up a batch of chutney – seriously my husband loves it and is complaining we have none in the house.

  11. Tangled Noodle

    You’re supposed to pinch off the side shoots? Huh. No wonder our tomatoes were a tangled mess (which, of course, IDs them appropriately enough as belonging to us!)

    Most of our tomatoes have had to ripen indoors, too – they were hit with end blossom rot so Mr. Noodle picked them before they blackened and turned gross. So much rain apparently leached the soil of needed calcium – who knew that they suffered from a vege-fied form of osteoporosis?

    Your chutney recipes are lovely, which gives me ideas about bringing homemade gifts when we visit family in the Philippines . . .

  12. Sophie

    MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,…your chutney looks so lovely & yummie!!

    I so love green tomatoes!!

  13. Daily Spud

    Heather: they are indeed worthy additions to the vegetable basket!

    Kristen: it’s a tricky business, climate – I’d love to have some kind of greenhouse, where I might have some hope of growing tomatoes that actually turn red

    mom, again: thanks for reminding me that I could do that – I’m sure I’d read about hanging up the plant ‘n’ all before but had completely forgotten

    George: ah, they are something to be pleased with – I mean, you can eat them after all, and that’s always a good thing

    OysterCulture: it would be a dark day if I had no chutney or pickles in the house!

    Tangled Noodle: (or should I say Tangled Tomato?) – I was somewhat aware that tomatoes liked calcium but have never taken any special care to provide it – preferring to adopt the plant-it-and-hope-for-the-best approach!

    Sophie: if I have green tomatoes, I just automatically think of chutney, the two are inseparable for me :)

  14. charissa

    Oh my goodness! You have no idea what a relief it is to read that I’m not the only one who feels (slightly) guilty about neglecting their tomato plants all summer. (I will admit though that living in a hot-summer, frozen-winter climate does mean my tomatoes get a lot redder. Eventually. And then split clean open along a line because of early frost. *shakes fist*)

    It had never even occured to me to make a green tomato chutney; I wonder if a salsa of green tomatoes would be too sour? Hmmm… thanks for the ideas! : )

  15. gaga

    I’ve never eaten green tomatoes before. Maybe I’ll pick a few from my garden and give this a try. It looks tasty!

  16. eiweibpulver

    Is it tomatoes?
    I don’t believe this I never seen tomatoes in green and also in this size.I definitely will try this out if I had chance.

  17. Daily Spud

    charissa: welcome & thanks for dropping in – it’s always nice to find out that you’re not alone in being a less-than-stellar gardener :) As for the green tomatoes, I’m not sure that a salsa would work but definitely try dipping sliced green tomatoes in breadcrumbs or cornmeal and frying them.

    gaga: green tomatoes are definitely worthy of your attention :)

    eiweibpulver: thanks for stopping by and, yes, they are indeed tomatoes – if you happen to come across some green ones, then the chutney is worth a try

  18. bob sances

    spudness

    my partner and I put up a double batch today.
    not sure we’ll be able to keep them for a year
    hoping i can just keep the household
    away from them for a month.
    the smell of the simmering fruits were amazing
    even got the minister out of her room
    to find out what was cooking.

    thanks for the recipe
    and congrat’s on your first year.

  19. Daily Spud

    Hi Bob – let me just say that comments like this make me want to continue for many more years! Thanks for the good wishes and really hope you enjoy the chutney – it’s probably a good sign if it doesn’t last a whole year :)

  20. suzanna

    I actually managed to get some red tomatoes out of may plants outside – about 15 tomatoes from 6 plants, the rest was green ;-) Do get yourself a greenhouse – I have plastic thing from Woodies (only for 40 euros), small, but good enough for tomatoes. My greenhouse tomatoes were so incredibly red and tasty…
    So now I am thinking – green tomato chutney or jam? That’s the dilema…

  21. keyboards

    It is a very interesting recipe of the green tomato chutney. I haven’t heard about it. The chutney’s have always seemed tasty thing to have. I would love to give it a try. Thank you for sharing the recipe of this rare chutney.

  22. Daily Spud

    Keyboards – thanks for dropping in, glad to be able to introduce you to green tomato chutney!

  23. Mags

    Hi Bob. Made a batch last night using my home grown tomatoes (got blighted) and the bulbs from our now past-it crop of spring onions. Great instructions, and the kids loved helping. Put extra chilli in, also small clove of garlic. Not sure the garlic was good idea now as I don’t see it in other chutney recipes either. I hope it doesn’t spoil the result. Foolishly, I didn’t think to keep a small sample for immediate tasting. Ah well! Many thanks for sharing.

  24. Daily Spud

    Hi Mags (and this is Spud, not Bob, by the way! :) ) – thanks for letting me know about your batch of chutney. I don’t think the garlic will spoil the result – you’ll have to let me know how it turns out when you open it up!

  25. Mags

    Sorry Spud! I’m lucky to get my own name right sometimes.

  26. Daily Spud

    No worries Mags, easy mistake to make! And I do answer to several names (Aoife works, as well as Spud :) )

  27. Mags

    Hi Spud. Curiosity finally got the better of me and I opened the first jar. Sweeter than I expected but tangy and delicious. I’ll be using your recipe again, complete with extra chilli and clove of garlic. Cheers!

  28. Daily Spud

    Hey Mags, delighted to hear that – and you’ve just reminded me that I have a jar of (now very mature) green tomato chutney in the cupboard. Time to dish it up!

  29. Mags

    I won’t even try to get my tomatoes to the ripe stage next year ;)

  30. Caroline

    Have a pot of this simmering on the cooker now and the smells going thru the house are delish! (added a handful of sultanas too. Thanks for the recipe.

  31. Daily Spud

    You’re most welcome Caroline – enjoy!

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