Sunday, July 12, 2015

Tomato Chutney

Tomatoes, 8 lbs. in all

Chutney is a spicy, sweet condiment and can be made with any variety of fruit.  One of my favorites is tomato chutney.  It's something I make almost every year, as both daughter and I enjoy it so much.

I use a recipe I copied down from my mother's cook book when I was 17 years old:

Hand-copied Recipes: the tomato chutney recipe starts on the lower left page and continues on the upper right page

I have 3 or 4 note books like this one (they used to be called Monitor's Exercise Books), with recipes I copied from various sources.   Written in ink with a fountain pen, the page is smudged and there are notations made where I tried to calculate how much vinegar to add (converting British/Imperial measures to American/US equivalents).  The recipe calls for "1/2 bottle of vinegar" for 1 lb. tomatoes.  And from what I remember, it was 5 bottles to 1 Imperial gallon.

My mother gave away her cook book, but later, she said that if she had known I was interested in those recipes, she would have kept the book or given it to me.  Years later, she bought me another copy of the book, but it was a revised edition and some of the recipes, including the tomato chutney recipe, had changed!  I prefer to use the original recipe.

Here's the original recipe as I copied it:

"Grind 1 oz. dry chillies, 1 oz. mustard seeds, 1/2 oz. garlic and 1/2 oz. green ginger with some vinegar from 1/2 bottle vinegar; scald 1 lb. ripe tomatoes and peel and slice.  Add the remainder of the vinegar and boil until the fruit is soft.  Add 3/4 lb. sugar, the ground ingredients and salt and boil gently till of a good consistency for chutney."

The revised recipe in the newer edition of the cook book omits the mustard seeds, calls for 1 lb. sugar and 1/4 bottle vinegar. 

First, I prepared the tomatoes to be scalded and peeled by cutting an X at the bottom of each one:

The Prepared Tomatoes and other Ingredients

 The tomatoes were scalded by dipping in boiling water briefly and then taking them out:

Scalding the Tomatoes

Scalding makes it easy to peel; the skin splits from where the X was cut and curls back:

Scalded Tomatoes

 The peeled tomatoes:

Peeled Tomatoes

And then, I peeled and cut the ginger and garlic:

Ginger (at the back) and Garlic (in front)
The chopped ginger and garlic were ground in a blender, with mustard seeds and vinegar; cutting the ginger and garlic into small pieces help in the grinding process.  I used chilli powder, instead of the whole dry chillies called for in the recipe, because it's easier.  After that, the peeled tomatoes were diced:

Peeled Diced Tomatoes (the ground garlic/ginger/mustard seed mixture in small bowl)

The diced tomatoes are added to a big pan with the rest of the vinegar:

Tomato and Vinegar Mixture
This was boiled for about an hour, and then, the other ingredients added and boiled longer.

After All Ingredients Added
Chutney is cooked until it reduces and the thickens.  This process can take quite some time; today, with 8 lbs. of tomato, it took over 3 hours.  It needs to be stirred to make sure it doesn't scorch.

Just About Ready (it looks brown, but the actual color is a deep red)
In the meantime, I washed and sterilized the jars I was going to use to bottle up the chutney.  I used an assortment of recycled jars:

Jars of Chutney

16 assorted jars of chutney cooling on the counter.  Some will be given as gifts.  The rest will be for daughter and me.  The chutney is spicy, sweet, and slightly acidic.  

I've made chutney with other fruits, but tomato chutney remains a favorite with both daughter and me. 


  1. BLess, how wonderful that you have your mom's recipe.. I love the old recipes.. Thank you so much for sharing..I am going to try making this..Sounds so good. I do a squash chow chow..[Sounds similar to this..].
    My son and daughter are 38 and 42 yrs old, When each of them got married, I took a book and wrote recipes that I made frequently [even the simple things], and gave to each. My daughter in law said, she loved it, and used it, so she could make the things Gary was use to having at home. and my daughter uses hers.. I think I will follow the tradition with my grandchildren too.

    1. Judy, that's a great idea to give each child/grandchild a copy of the old family favorite recipes. I think I need to copy out the recipes I keep returning to, time after time and give them to daughter. If you do make the tomato chutney, feel free to reduce the amount of chilli to 1/2 oz. per 1 lb. tomato, unless you don't mind hot (spicy) food.

    2. BLess, I made the tomato chutney.. we both love it.. I did reduce the chili.. thanks for sharing.

    3. Judy, I'm so happy to hear that you made it and liked it! Yes, adjust the chili to your taste. And, since you have peaches from your tree, you can substitute peaches for tomatoes and follow this same recipe for peach chutney! I did that, one year, and everyone I gave a jar of it to, raved about it. :)

  2. I've never had tomato chutney, but this really sounds good, Bless! When my parents passed away, I made cookbooks for each of my brothers that contained family favorite recipes. It's nice to carry on food traditions. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Carolyn, tomato chutney is not very common and generally not available commercially. Mango chutney is most common and can be bought from most Asian stores.


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