Introduction: Gran's Green Tomato Chutney

Picture of Gran's Green Tomato Chutney

My gran's been making this wonderfully tangy and sweet green tomato chutney for as long as I can remember. It's fantastic as a relish in a burger or just with cheese and biscuits.

It's a brilliant way to use up unripe tomatoes if the weather (like this year) hasn't been great for them. I picked 5kg of green tomatoes from my allotment as they were starting to get blight then made two batches of this stuff. Some will be saved for Christmas presents and some will get eaten over the year.

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients


  • 2.5kg green tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 0.5kg onions, finely sliced
  • 4 tsp / 30g salt
  • 1L malt vinegar
  • 0.5kg soft light brown sugar
  • 250g sultanas, roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp / 20g ground pepper


  • Preserving pan or other large lidless pan. I prefer a 10 L stainless stock pot.
  • 7 - 10 jars with lids
  • Food wrap / cling film
  • Sticky labels
  • I find a jam funnel really useful. Especially for larger bits of tomato.

Approximate cost: 2.5 GBP per batch (if you grew the tomatoes).

Step 2: Prepare

Picture of Prepare

Finely slice your onions and washed green tomatoes, cutting out any bad bits. Add to a large bowl and stir. Add the 4 teaspoons of salt, stir again and then cover with food wrap or a large plate and leave overnight.

This will draw out lots of the tomato juices and help enhance the flavours. This step can be skipped if you don't want to leave it overnight, just reduce the salt by half.

I thoroughly recommend doing this step as it will reduce the time you need to cook your chutney for. Much of the cooking time is just reducing the liquid down so it's a thick enough consistency for chutney.

Step 3: Heat the Vinegar, Add the Sugar.

Picture of Heat the Vinegar, Add the Sugar.

The next day...

Place the litre of vinegar into a large pan. Add the 500g of light brown soft sugar and stir over a medium heat until all the sugar has dissolved.

Bring to the boil.

Step 4: Sultanas

Picture of Sultanas

Roughly chop the sultanas then add to the simmering vinegar and sugar. Bring the whole lot to a gentle boil.

Step 5: Drain and Add the Tomatoes and Onions

Picture of Drain and Add the Tomatoes and Onions

Remove the cover from the tomatoes and onions that you've left overnight. Drain well but do not rinse. Rinsing will add more water and the goal of leaving overnight with salt was to remove as much water as possible without pulping them.

Add to the chutney and stir in well. Add the 3 teaspoons / 15g white pepper.

Bring to a gentle boil.

Step 6: Cooking Time

Picture of Cooking Time

Once all the ingredients have been added they need to be boiled gently for 1.5 to 2 hours until thick and golden. The goal of this cooking time is to reduce the liquid down so the chutney's thick and to soften the tomatoes and onions until they take on the sugar and turn brown.

All you're doing for the next 1 - 2 hours is stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat if they start to boil too vigorously.

You might as well get your jars ready now!

Step 7: Preparing Your Jars

Picture of Preparing Your Jars

Wash your jars and lids well in hot water. I used jars I'd saved from sauces and jams and scrounged from friends.

Place them in an oven preheated to 140 degrees Celcius (280 Fahrenheit).

This will dry and sterilise them.

Step 8: Is It Ready Yet???

Picture of Is It Ready Yet???

When your chutney has reduced by almost half and is thick and golden brown, it is almost ready. Boil it a little longer, I'm almost certain you'll be as impatient as I am and need to leave it just a tiny bit longer. I found a good gauge of it being thick enough was when I could drag my wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and see the bottom for a little while after it had passed. When that happens, it's ready.

Remove your sterilised jars from the oven and place on newspaper. At this point I realised I didn't have any newspaper so I used chopping boards. Regardless, make sure you have something covering your work surfaces to make it easier to clean up, bottling the chutney will make a fair bit of mess.

Holding the hot jars in an oven mitt in one hand, spoon the chutney into the jars with the other. When full give them a quick tap on the bottom against the work surface to knock out any air bubbles then fill the next jar.

When all your jars are full place a double layer of cling film or food wrap across the top of each jar and then trim around it. As the chutney cools the air below the wrap will contract, sucking the cling film down against the surface, protecting it further from mould. You can see the concave shape of the wrap in the pictures.

Step 9: Labelling and Topping Off

Picture of Labelling and Topping Off

While the jars cool, write some labels showing the date, content and maker.

Once cool, add the lids and stick on the labels. You can start eating the chutney right away, or leave it to mature for one or two weeks. I couldn't wait so had some warm with cheese and biscuits. Mmmmmm.

The finished chutney, if preserved well, should keep for six months or more. Last week I opened a jar my gran gave me the previous Christmas (9 months) and it was still fine.


PS430 (author)2013-11-06

Tried out this recipe for the first time today, am a complete novice at doing this type of cooking. We'll it worked out great have no worries in recommending it to all.

tony.raybould.5 (author)PS4302014-09-29

try it with dark brown sugar its amazing

Xantium (author)2017-10-17

I am cooking recipe as I type, however, is it 15g, 20g or 3 tsp of white pepper, they are all quite different (3 tsp ground white pepper weighs around 10g)?

groves76 (author)2015-02-24

Opened a jar today that I made March last year, still tastes amazing! Got to get started on this years green tomatoes : )

Have you ever made this recipe using red tomatoes?

hatusage (author)groves762015-03-21

Try this one..
Tomato Sauce

1 and a half kilos tomatoes

500 grams onions

500 grams apples

2 cloves garlic

250 grams garlic

250 grams sugar

2 level tablsp salt

Half teasp cayenne pepper

1 tblsp whole cloves

1tblsp black peppercorns

500 ml malt vinegar
chop tomatoes, onions and apples\par

put in large saucepan\par

add rest of ingredients\par

bring to boil then simmer gently for 2 1/2 hrs UNCOVERED\par

push mixture through a sieve\par

bottle and cover when cold...\par

Xantium (author)hatusage2017-10-16

Looks interesting I plan to give it a try, however, would I be correct in assuming that the inclusion of 250g garlic was unintended (I wondered if it might be a typo/cut & paste error arising from the combining of the 2 cloves of garlic and 250g sugar)?

Jayefuu (author)groves762015-03-26

I use a different one for red tomatoes. You can find it on my profile, but I prefer the green tomato recipe.

MummyMo (author)2016-09-28

In desperate need of suggestions of other fruit or veg that would work well with the rest of this recipe, please!! My 3 year old was so proud of her preschool tomato growing project, especially after we created her a special little veggie patch for all the different things she bought home. We ended up with 3 monster tomato plants and loads of tomatoes, but they refused to ripen so we decided on Green Tomato Chutney for everyone for Christmas. Picked them a couple of days ago, took out any that looked a bit manky and stuck them away in the shed. Went shopping this morning for the ingredients needed for this recipe, having spent hours going through various recipes from every direction and deciding on this one as a first attempt. I now have everything I need to make this recipe, except the green tomatoes - they obviously had blight, but most had grown fluff after a fair few had split! Heartbroken Mummy & daughter, but determined to use the ingredients to make something for Christmas presents!!

JackieL40 (author)MummyMo2016-10-17

make it with firm Red tomatoes you can use green plumbs to just aadjust the sugar

rickenbacker (author)2016-10-10

What a total waste of time and ingredients! This recipe is terrible. I put exactly 10g (measured with digital scales) of white pepper and nearly burnt my mouth out when I tasted it.

KarenH214 (author)2016-10-03

This worked really well - great recipe and delicious with cheese.

Tammie16 (author)2016-09-21

I need help with the measurements, what is 2.5 kg and 0.5 kg, is it 4 tsp of salt, etc...

DebbieR21 (author)2016-09-08

Made this last year, went down a bomb with friends. am doing again this year

DebS76 made it! (author)2016-09-01

I just finished making this and it is delicious: sweet, fruity, tangy and has a bit of heat from the pepper. I am a Brit who has lived in the USA for more than 20 years and I do a lot of preserving. Reading the comments that have been made previously, I think that I can provide a few pointers and insight.

1) I can confirm that Sultanas are very similar to golden raisins and they do work well as replacements. White pepper is different (hotter) than the more commonly found black pepper but both will work.

2) This recipe calls for malt vinegar and I've seen many people here suggesting changes. If you choose cider vinegar or white vinegar, the color of the finished product will be different and these vinegars have different taste profiles. I would be very hesitant to switch to balsamic vinegar because the sugar and acidity will be very different. Whichever vinegar you use, it should be 5% acidity to ensure that the pH of the chutney will be raised sufficiently to kill/ reduce bacteria growth.

3) Changes to the type of sugar will impact the product flavor and color. If you are in the USA, sugar beet is often sold instead of cane sugar and this has been shown to greatly impact flavor, crystallization, etc. look for pure cane sugar. You should not reduce the sugar or replace some of the sugar with an artificial sweetener because the sugar is a preservative and making any changes to the formula will impact shelf life.

4) British teaspoons are smaller than US teaspoons. The gram weights given for the salt and the pepper seem off and I would probably use 15 grams of white pepper rather than the 20 grams stated in the listed ingredients. 20 grams might well work with black pepper, if you want some heat to the finished product.

5) This is an old recipe, created before concern was raised about botulism, yeasts and mold in food. In the USA, it is recommended that only tested recipes are used and that foods are properly sealed for storage; things still seem more lax in England. If you have any family members who are immune-compromised, you may wish to sterilize and can the chutney. Tested chutney recipes are available from Ball, Kilner and the US government. To properly can this chutney, you will need a water bath canner and canning jars with two piece caps. Half fill a water bath canner with water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar, submerge clean canning jars in the water and the water up to 180 degrees Farenheit. The jars should be held at this temperature for 10 minutes to sterilize the jars and ensure that they will not break when filled with the hot chutney. A separate pan should be filled with 180 degree water and the sealing lids submerged in it for 10 minutes prior to use to soften the sealing compound. Remove one jar at a time and fill to 1/2 inch from the rim. Take a toothpick or jar filler tool and run it around the inside edge of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp dish cloth then remove a lid from the pan of water and place it on the top of the jar. Screw on the cap, finger tip tight and place it on a towel until all the jars have been filled. Lower the filled jars into the water bath canner and ensure that the jar tops are covered with 1-2 inches of water. Out the lid of the canner, increase the heat to medium high and bring the water to a rolling boil. Once a rolling boil has been reached, keep boiling the jars for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat, take off the canner lid and let the jars sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Remove the jars to a towel-covered surface and leave for 12-24 hours, until cold. The lids may make popping noises while in the canner or on the counter as a vacuum is created in the jars and the lids set. Remove the screw band and check for a good seal by seeing if the center of the lid will pop up and down. If the lid moves, the seal didn't take and the product should be refrigerated and consumed within a few weeks. Sealed jars can be stored in a dark, cool place for usually up to 12 months. Check that the jar is still sealed before attempting to eat the product and discard any where the seal has broken or the contents are moldy/smell strange.

I hope this helps.

Rosiemai (author)2016-08-14

Not sure what happened, followed recipe but came out very sharp & vinergary!!!

AndersS12 made it! (author)2016-02-16

night I was made this recipe. I can’t imagine, it was made so delicious. Good
recipe. Thanks for sharing with us.

LynneF3 (author)2015-11-29

I did everything "wrong", and it still turned out great! Really: sliced the tomatoes instead of chunking them; I was making a 1/2 batch but forgot to halve the sugar; instead of sultanas, used black raisins, with "craisins", and chopped dried apricot. But it turned out great! It will go great with homemade cornbread! Next time, I'll add some chilis to it. Also, loved the idea,

MaitripushpaB, of adding anise or fennel! Thank you.

Gary SmudgerS (author)2015-10-17

Has anyone tried this with green and red tomatoes? I've just prepped a batch and they are salting now! Hope it turns out ok!

Hey SmudgerS > how did it go? Am just salting my green (& slightly red) mix... with a few little red peppers too....

JanetD20 made it! (author)2015-10-30

hi thanks for a great recipe, and such great instructions, just made some, didn't have enough green toms so just put less of the other ingredients in and taste great, also added some cooking apples x

DianeE4 made it! (author)2015-10-23

I must admit,I had never made any chutney before,until this summer.I have made four batches of this great green tomato chutney.Have just come back on to see if anyone has put green tomatoes in the freezer,to make more at a later date.So will be picking more to do at a later date before the frost arives.Thank you for this great recipe

da1978 (author)2015-10-19

Made this today, really easy to do and tastes great would definitely make again.

ewilson13 (author)2015-10-15

what a fantastic recipe Already to make this afternoon Thank you More of granny's recipes please

sponty1 (author)2015-10-13

HI, I made this today but found it took 3 hours to get the correct consitency, though it looks and smells great. Am planning on making a 2nd batch tomorrow, should I reduce the amount of vinegar or just carry on the same?

MaitripushpaB made it! (author)2015-10-09

Like some of the others, I've never done anything like this myself (though seemed to have helped my mum unendingly to make pickles and jams). Had a bit more tomatoes than the recipe so fiddled with amounts. Used mainly dark brown sugar and also added some aniseed (would have preferred fennel but couldn't find any). Made 7 jars - with, darn, some left over that just has to be eaten up! It's wonderful - I had some on apple slices. Wunderbahr! Great instructions. Though it took about 4 1/2 hours to cook rather than 2ish, even after salting the tomatoes overnight. Thank you so much!

MartinD33 (author)2015-10-09

Curry powder is a good idea. I use a couple of teaspoonfuls (homemade) with my apple chutney.

EmmaC25 made it! (author)2015-10-07

After a rubbish summer here in the Uk i was left with 6kg of green tomatoes. Unsure of what to do with them a friend suggested i made green tomato chutney.

I spent hours on the internet looking at recipes and reading the comments. As this one had the most postive comments i decided to give this recipe a go and i'm so pleased i did!

I only made 1/4 of the recipe to reduce waste in the event that the end result didnt taste as planned but i was not disappointed! I will be using the rest of my tomatoes to make these as Christmas presents and for an upcoming charity do!

Thanks ever so much!

GretelHallet (author)2015-10-05

Looks like a great way to use up all the tomatoes that didn't ripen this year - thanks for such a clear and friendly recipe!

143 wendyt (author)2015-09-27

I was wondering if I could add some curry powder.

dougarts (author)143 wendyt2015-10-03

Curry powder would give it a heavy note. If you want to hot it up just add chilli powder. A small amount of garram masala powder would make it spicier

ColetteB6 made it! (author)2015-10-01

Used this great recipe today for the third time, very easy to follow and great results!

I have loads of green tomatoes left and was just wondering if you know whether it would be OK to freeze them and then make more chutney later, or would there be too much liquid after defrosting? (I don't think we would use it before going off I I made more now.) Thanks for sharing your gran's recipe....

Jayefuu (author)ColetteB62015-10-01

I think it would be fine. You will defrost and salt them before making chutney anyway so that will let you get rid of most of the water.

ColetteB6 (author)Jayefuu2015-10-01

Thanks, I'll give it a go......

grumpygalnumber1 (author)2015-09-27

Great recipe. Used dark brown sugar and results were amazing. Thanks.

grumpygalnumber1 (author)2015-09-27

Used dark brown sugar (molasses natural unrefined - Billington's) and results were amazing. Thanks.

vespapxboy made it! (author)2015-09-21

This is my first attempt at anything like this, i left out the sultanas and added bramley apple and a couple of cayen peppers.

Jayefuu (author)vespapxboy2015-09-21

Well done! Looks good, and a lot of people have said it's been nice with some added heat.

keith.littlewood.940 (author)2015-09-13

I just opened my last jar that I made this time last year & it's fine.

I have the 1st batch of salted tomatoes & onions in the fridge right now, ready to be made tomorrow evening

LanaR2 (author)2015-08-31

This is my favourite chutney ever! Made it three times now and never fails to impress! Thanks so much for posting :) I'll post photos tonight when I've made my 4th batch.

fayms (author)2015-03-26

I am going to try this recipe as it sounds great. Its just a shame that the web site you are using is covering all your great instructions with a lot of annoying and non relevant ads that make reading the recipe almost impossible. I do not revisit websites that use this sort of intrusive marketing.

Jayefuu (author)fayms2015-04-10

I'll send you a PDF without adverts if you'd like. Or I have lots of pro memberships I won, if you'd like one you can have it.

fayms (author)Jayefuu2015-04-11

Thank you for the offer but I manged to get the recipe copied. Have tried it twice so far and plan on a third batch tomorrow. So easy and delicious.

belindafish (author)2015-02-16

Hi, i am busy with your recipe and very excited about my end product. I live in South Africa and not many people here even know about using green tomatoes. I guess I started planting mine late and now have my 2.5 kg needed for the recipe. Thank you for sharing. Belinda

Jayefuu (author)belindafish2015-02-16

You're welcome Belinda. Enjoy!

sarahbear.mullen (author)2015-01-15

I am making this tomorrow. Is there anything I can use instead of the sultanas?

Jayefuu (author)sarahbear.mullen2015-01-15

They're not really necessary, just nice. They add a bit of sweetness I guess. You could throw in a couple of apples or some other dried fruit like apricots or raisins. I think sultana is the UK name for what the US call raisins, I'm not sure what the Australian version is though.

MagicEnergies made it! (author)2014-11-17

You have inspired me Miss Mouse! I am in the process of making the chutney now and was wondering what to do as I do
not have a pot big enough for the whole mixture as per the recipe
here. I think I will separate it into two pots and make two different
batches! One I will make according to the recipe and the other I will
experiment with some other spices. I have another 4Kg of tomatoes on
top of this to experiment with also, plus more on the vine, so maybe I
will make a few different varieties...

MagicEnergies (author)2014-11-17

This recipe has shown me that I need bigger bowls and cooking pans in my kitchen :D

surewhatelsewouldibedoing made it! (author)2014-11-14

Hi There, I used your recipe to make Chutney and blogged about it.

Your instructions were really clear and the chutney turned out well. I particularly love it on toasted sandwiches. Thanks.

kathryn.s.collis (author)2014-11-13

Just finished a batch! My husband is a Londoner but makes his home here in Texas. He wanted green tomato chutney with our tomatoes that we had to pick before the cold weather. I don't know green tomato chutney so we found your recipe and now have 12 half pint jars cooling. We can't get sultanas but used raisins and he seems pleased with it. I think I'm gonna be hooked….. It's still hot but smells and tastes amazing and I'm ready to try it with some Jacobs Cream Crackers and cheese. Didn't have a problem with your instructions. Good job and tell your Gran that her Chutney has come to Texas.

About This Instructable




More by Jayefuu:Beech Tray for Salt & Pepper MillOmas Grünes Tomaten ChutneyDisabling Contactless Payment on Debit Cards
Add instructable to: