This green tomato chutney is an excellent way to preserve your end of season harvest. Sweet, tangy, and nicely spiced, it is ideal for perking up winter meals.
Tomato season is moments away from completion. My tomato plants withered and blackened months ago, so any that have come into my kitchen since September had to either be begged, borrowed or bought. There are still a few vendors at my Saturday farmers market with precious half pints of cherry and grape tomatoes, but I know their days are strictly numbered.
There have also been a couple of farmers with baskets of big, firm green tomatoes for sale at my neighborhood market and it’s thanks to them I’ve been able play around with these under-ripe fruits. As a side note, can I just say what a wonderful thing it is that tomatoes are useful, edible and delicious both ripe and green. How many other fruits or vegetables are similarly blessed (well, papaya does spring to mind. But beyond that).
How to make green tomato chutney
The ingredients are quite basic, as chutneys go. Chopped onion (that’s one small white onion) and green tomatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds).
Combine in a heavy, non-reactive pot with 1 cup of white vinegar (apple cider vinegar is fine if you prefer, just make sure that it is also 5% acidity) and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar.
Spices included cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, red chili flakes and ground ginger. Fresh ginger is also fine to use, if you happen to have it around. If you make that swap, go for a full tablespoon of peeled and grated ginger.
As you can see from the picture, I used a little stainless steel teaball to keep the cloves contained, so that the finished chutney wouldn’t be to overwhelmingly clove-y.
The resulting chutney is a bit sweet, with plenty of tang and spice. It tastes a little like Christmas, but I think it would also be quite lip-smacking on a post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich. I’m going to let it hang out a bit before I open it, to let the flavors mingle and marry a bit more before serving it up.
Do note that this takes at least an hour to an hour and a half to cook down into a finished chutney and that it cooks down significantly. I started with nearly 10 cups of raw ingredients and my final yield was just 2 pints. You could easily double it for a greater yield, but it will take even longer to cook down.
Green Tomato Chutney
- 6 cups chopped green tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups chopped onion
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves, use a teaball or spice bag to keep them from overpowering your chutney
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 3 star anise pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes, use more for a spicier chutney
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, if using regular table salt, use 1/2 teaspoon
- Combine tomatoes, onion, vinegar and sugar in a 5 quart non-reactive pot over medium heat. Add the ginger, cloves, cinnamon sticks, star anise, red chili flakes, and salt.
- Cook over low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
- When chutney has reduced by more than half, turn off heat. Use tongs to remove cinnamon sticks and star anise pieces. Funnel into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, turn off the heat and remove the lid from the pot. Let the jars sit in the cooling water for an additional five minutes.
- Remove the jars from the canner and set them to cool on a wooden board or folded kitchen towel. Let them cool completely. When the jars have reached room temperature, check seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable for at least one year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
- Eat on turkey sandwiches, or with a bit of goat cheese.