When Life Hands You Tomatoes…

… make chutney!


So the garden has been yielding a great deal in the tomato department, as you saw from earlier posts. There’s been quite the fig surplus too, but more on that later. Last night – late last night – I decided to work on another food item that allows me to use them up and save this glorious condensation of Summer for a later time. I decided to make a tomato chutney. Well, I’m making two. I wanted to take the yellower tomatoes to make one with a lighter colour and flavour, and I will (later tonight perhaps?) make another, darker one with red tomatoes (with a little pepper from the garden for warmth).

A chutney is simple. It’s a bit like a savoury jam but even easier. I halved the little yellow pear variety tomatoes, and chopped a yellow onion – about half as much in volume as I had tomato. (Some extra tomatoes showed up late – I found a few green zebras and one or two red cherries, so put them in too, for variety.)


At the last minute I decided to cut some sweetcorn off an ear and put that in too. Maybe a little less in amount than the onion? Then, I popped it all into a heavy large pan with five cardamom pods, 1/3 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/2 cup of dry white wine (mostly because I did not have enough vinegar but also because it is lighter than the vinegar and I want to save the colour), 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, some chopped ginger (maybe 1/4 cup?), four chopped garlic cloves, a cup or so of brown sugar, and… that’s it I think.

tomato_surplus_3Basically, get that all going to a boil, and let it cook down, stirring regularly. An hour later, depending upon how much liquid you had in there to start, it is time to start the final stages, maybe turning up the heat a bit and stirring very attentively because you’re now reducing the liquid and making it jammy – and you don’t want it to burn.

tomato_surplus_4Depending upon how much sugar you’d put in (not too much so that you kill the flavour of the main ingredients), you’ll soon (after maybe 10 minutes of this) start to approach a nice viscous mass that moves slowly back into place when you move it in the pan. That’s more or less ready for bottling in sterilized jars. (How to sterilize a jar? Just fully immerse ’em in boiling water and handle with sterilized tongs). How thick you want it to be is up to you. Just don’t let it burn.

Then sometime later (for me the next morning – I bottled at 1:00am), break out the mature cheddar cheese and have some chutney with it. I happened to have some homemade bread rolls I’d made earlier in the week, and so that was a perfect accompaniment.

I’m sort of stunned how tasty this all is. I need to make some more as soon as possible!


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4 Responses to When Life Hands You Tomatoes…

  1. Pingback: Phase Diagram « Asymptotia

  2. casey rentz says:

    Mmmm. I’ve gotta try the tomato chutney–tomato jam rocks but who has the time?

  3. Clifford says:

    Hi Casey!

    Actually it hardly takes any time at all. More generally though, I’d say that some simple slow things are worth taking time out to do, otherwise what are we all so busy for?



  4. PaigeB says:

    “Some simple slow things are worth taking time out to do”. That is one of the truest statements I have read in quite a while. In today’s fast-paced, instant gratification society, taking things slowly and enjoying them are becoming a lost art.