Thursday, October 27, 2011

Too Many Green Tomatoes? Make Chutney

There’s something about the very word “chutney” that I’ve always thought exotic.  I suppose that’s because it was something foreign to me as a child.  We had Welch’s grape jelly (in Flintstone glasses or maybe Tom and Jerry) or we had pickle relish.  Chutney kind of mixes those together.

I do vaguely recall Christmas gift packages my parents would receive, filled with cheese, meat, crackers and a jar of something with “MajorGrey” emblazoned on it.  Since then I’ve seen jars of all kinds of chutney, including the Major, in gourmet food shops. But still I kept my distance.  It was unfamiliar.

So why make chutney?  Why now?

  1. I’ll eat anything.  (Just ask Mr. Rosemary.)
  2. I love to experiment. (Ditto.)
  3. I had a whole bunch of green tomatoes still sitting on the vine.  With a heavy frost sure to hit any day now, I needed to do something.
Enter Martha.  I often turn to one of my big bible-type cookbooks when I have a need to make an indefinable something with a particular something.  I found this Green Tomato Chutney recipe in the huge The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, The Original Classics.  That’s the orange one. I have the blue one, too; that’s the New Classics version.  And I do consult them often.

So I had all the ingredients, I knew the chutney would keep a long time and I had visions of, not sugarplums, but pretty jars of my homemade chutney as charming Christmas gifts.

This particular recipe was pretty time-consuming, though.  And I found that paring green tomatoes is a whole lot harder than with ripe tomatoes.    

My verdict?  It’s pretty good.  And I didn't waste the tomatoes.  I’ve been eating it on my morning toast, on top of a smear of mascarpone cheese.  My neighbor Dick stopped by soon after I finished making the chutney and I made him taste it.  He’s a great guinea pig.  He just took the cracker I offered  without even asking what it was and immediately declared, “Tastes like mincemeat.”  A spot on description.
Chutneys are just a condiment, and as varied as any salsa or relish.  Usually, it’s a sweet-sour mix of fruit and vegetable combinations with vinegar and sugar, cooked well down. Next time, I’d use apple instead of raisins.  (Mr. Rosemary's comment:  "I relish relish; I don't 'chutney' chutney.")

But my visions of Christmas presents of chutney?  Sorry, but not gonna happen.

Green Tomato Chutney
from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, The Original Classics

1 large bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
4 pounds green tomatoes
2 yellow onion (1 pound), finely diced
1 ½ cup white vinegar
1 ½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup golden raisins

1. Cover and bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Tie mint in a piece of cheesecloth.  Set aside.  Prepare an ice water bath. Set aside
2. Using a paring knife, remove the core and score the end of each tomato with a shallow “x”.  Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 30 seconds.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to the ice bath.  Using a paring knife, peel off the skin and discard. Cut the tomatoes into ¾ inch chunks and set aside.
3.  Combine the onions, vinegar, mint bundle, sugar, salt, raisins and 1 cup water in a low-sided 6-quart saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
4.  Add the tomatoes and reduce to a simmer.  Cook, stirring frequently until the tomatoes are tender, about 1 hour.
5.  Increase the heat to high and continue cooking stirring frequently until almost all the liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and discard the mint bundle.
6.  Transfer the chutney immediately to a large bowl over the ice bath to chill. Chutney can be stored, refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 weeks.
Makes 6 half-pint jars.


  1. I make green tomato ketchup with my green tomatoes(Chow Chow). I love chutney; never would had thought of making my own; like you I always considered it exotic; good for you. It is fun to experiment on our kithchens,

  2. I am "green" with envy! I have had several talks with farmers as well as grocers around here and a "green" tomato is impossible to find.
    Chutney is a great way to use up all those tomatoes. Glad you ventured into unfamiliar territory. Now, please pass the toast and the chutney-yum!

  3. Sounds delicious despite being a labor of love. Your pics are looking great!

  4. Good choice for the tomatoes Rosemary.I have never made chutnet but the days of having my own garden are gone.

  5. Like you, I love the sound of chutney, but I have never made it before. I want to try. Thank you for sharing yourself...and your delicious recipes, again and again! I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday. It is always a joy to visit here!

  6. Ilove having shutney with my cheese plates.

  7. Hi this is Nicole from Colie’s Kitchen I just discovered your blog and wanted to drop by and say hi. I am now a new follower. I would love to have you stop by Colie’s Kitchen if you get a chance.

  8. Rosemary-Your green tomato chutney, is awesome, and so versatile. What a great idea to use green tomatoes for, other than fried green tomatoes!
    Thanks for sharing your great recipe:DDD

  9. Wow - this is incredible! Being a Southerner - I'm naturally inclined to like green tomatoes and the idea of making it into a chutney is fantastic! I bet your friends will LOVE getting this!

  10. Oh my goodness - you are a life saver!!! my husband just walked through the door with a bucket load of green tomatoes (snow tomorrow!!!) and thanks to you I now know what to do with them!!
    Mary oxoxo

  11. No Christmas chutney?! That's too bad ;)

    This dish looks amazing, very flavorful and delish!

  12. You go, girl! Venturing into unexplored cooking territory :) I've never made jam nor're an inspiration~

  13. So, all I need to know is where were you three weeks ago when I had green tomatoes overtaking my world? Hmphf! (Yes, this looks good.)

  14. What a fabulous idea! I loooove chutney. Beautiful photos!


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