For two weeks I covered our flowers and vegetable garden to protect them from the low night-time temperatures. And then I stopped. With a forecast of snow and a low of 24 degrees, I gave up trying. So I harvested all the herbs and green onions and most of the carrots and chard. My husband (doing oh so much better, thank you) brought in almost eight pounds of green tomatoes. We’ve had some past success attempting to ripen tomatoes by hanging the plants upside down in our garage. But this year I decided instead to make green tomato chutney.
Where that idea came from I don’t know. I’ve only heard about, though never tasted, such typical green tomato dishes as fried green tomatoes or green tomato jam. Chutney just sounded like a great use for these beautiful green tomatoes. After a bit of research, I combined a number of ideas to come up with a recipe for a lightly spiced, honey sweetened and very easy Green Tomato Chutney w/ Apples, Golden Raisins & Ginger.
Beautifully green and hard end-of-the-season tomatoes taste of … not much. When tomatoes haven’t even a smidge of red, they rarely ever ripen. By the time their color changes, if it does at all, they lack even the slightest hint of any home-grown tomato flavor. Just the reason why chutney works so well.
The hard, green tomatoes softened by cooking provide a neutral and textural background for all the great spices. I’ve used mustard and fennel seeds, Aleppo pepper flakes, a stick of cinnamon and ground cardamom, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Plus by including naturally sweet apples and raisins in the mix, only a little additional sweetener’s necessary.
We had enough green tomatoes to make three batches of Green Tomato Chutney. Three pint jars and 12 half-pint jars now sit in our pantry. A few cups of this versatile chutney fill a container in our fridge. Here’s how I’m going to serve up Green Tomato Chutney:
- accompany curried veggies or a bowl of quinoa,
- top soft goat cheese and served with crackers as an hors d’oeuvres,
- spread on sandwiches and wraps, and
- enjoy with a little yogurt or ice cream as a quick dessert.
What do you do with your green tomatoes?
Green Tomato Chutney w/ Apples, Golden Raisins & Ginger
I hadn’t planned on canning the Green Tomato Chutney. It was so tasty, though, and as canning is so easy, I changed my mind. I’ve included some basic canning guidelines at the end of the recipe. For more thorough instructions visit this site. Otherwise, place the chutney into clean containers and store it in the refrigerator for up to a couple of months.
Makes 6 cups
Active time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1¼ hours
2 ½-2 ¾ pounds firm green tomatoes, cored, chopped into roughly ½-inch chunks (8 cups)
1 pound apples, peeled, chopped into roughly ½-inch chunks (3 cups)
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 cup golden raisins
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light honey
1/3 cup candied ginger, 1/8-inch dice
1 jalapeno or Serrano chili, seeded, finely diced (or more to taste)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes (or other red pepper flakes)
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Place everything in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot.
- Bring the chutney to a boil over high heat, stirring to distribute the ingredients.
- Reduce the heat to a low boil. Partially cover the pot. Cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Transfer the Green Tomato Chutney either to sterilized jars for canning, or into clean containers for storing in the refrigerator.
Basic Canning Guidelines
- To sterilize the jars and lids: Set the jars upright on a steamer rack in a large stock pot. Add enough water to fill and completely cover the jars. Turn the heat to high and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lids. Let the jars and lids sit in the water while you cook the chutney.
- When ready to fill the jars, carefully empty them of water. Place the jars on a kitchen towel. Remove the lids from the water and set them aside to dry.
- Scoop the chutney into the jars. Leave at least ¼-inch “head space” between the chutney and the top of the jar.
- Use a clean, damp paper towel to wipe the rim of each jar. Top each jar with a sterilized lid. Screw on a canning ring.
- Set the filled jars once again on the steamer rack in the pot of hot water. Add enough additional water to cover the jars with an inch of water. Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot. Process the jars at a rapid boil for 20 minutes if your altitude is between 1000 and 6000 feet. At lower altitudes, process the jars for 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jars from the very hot water. Place them on a dish towel to cool. You’ll hear a popping sound as the jars seal.
- When the jars are completely cool, press the center of each lid. A taut lid means a good seal. Otherwise reprocess the jar(s) in boiling water. Or, store that jar in the refrigerator.