If like me you’ve got lots of tomatoes that are stubbornly staying green, and you need to free up some of those garden pots for Autumnal blooms, then chutney is a very tasty way to put them to good use.
Green tomatoes are perfectly fine to eat, they just need some other ingredients, heat and spice to coax the sweetness out.
I’ve never made chutney before, so after researching several recipes I opted for one of my trusted favourite cooks, Nigel Slater.
Slater balances unripe green tomatoes with juicy ripe red ones to enhance the sweet, sour flavour. With a combination of plump raisins, the toffee richness of muscovado sugar and a kick of chill, a dollop of this can transform so many meals.
When stored in a cool, dark place, homemade chutney will last at least a year, however it’s essential to make sure your jars are sterile to begin with. To do this either pour boiling water into them and allow to sit for a few minutes before emptying and leaving to dry, or place in a warm oven for 10 minutes or so.
Be prepared for your home smelling of vinegar for a good few hours, but rest assured it’s worth it, and is a very satisfying way to use up the fruits of your gardening labour (literally).
Makes 4-5 jars worth
900g tomatoes – mixed green and red
350g onions – peeled and roughly chopped
250g light muscovado sugar
1 medium sized red chilli
1 tsp salt
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds
300ml white wine vinegar – I used apple cider vinegar instead of white wine vinegar, as I prefer the caramel sweetness
Halve the tomatoes and add the green ones to a large stainless-steel or an enamel pan, together with the peeled and roughly chopped onions, the raisins, sugar, chilli, salt, mustard seeds and vinegar.
Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and leave to simmer for an hour, giving the occasional stir to reduce the risk of the chutney sticking.
After about 25 minutes cooking, add the ripe red tomatoes and continue to simmer.
Spoon into sterilized jars and seal, immediately.
*If you still have some green tomatoes leftover, stick them in a fruit bowl with a ripe banana or two, this should help ripen them up.