Easy Eating Green Tomatoes: Simple Chutney


Go to the end of this post for chutney recipes, and also my Mom's green tomato chocolate cake! First frost, and our formerly dense tomato "jungle" was utterly limpid, frail in surrender. We did manage one last harvest from the once proud vines, however, yielding a solid 10 pounds or so of green tomatoes. I understand that raw green tomatoes contain a toxin called tomatine, so should be avoided. However, they're delicious, and as far as I know healthy, cooked or pickled, and make for a great way to keep your unripened end-of-season tomatoes from going to waste. They also make for a chutney that represents one of the few satisfactory substitutes for Branston pickle, a brown gherkin and unrecognizable root vegetable filled, relish type concoction that's incredibly popular in the UK, and something my husband has struggled to live without for much of the year since moving this side of the Atlantic. Pickle relish has no hope of competing, especially not in its typical glowing supermarket state, and ketchup only goes so far. So, we rely on Dave's Mum and family members to send/bring out jars in between visits back and are always on the lookout for something either similar or equally complementary on sandwiches.  On one visit from my mother-in-law, poor Dave had to endure the grave disappointment of NO PICKLE because just prior to the trip, the Branston pickle factory actually BURNED DOWN! Ha! But that's another story. (Just had to fit that in there because it was so reminiscent of an old Saturday Night Live Jack Handy line. )

Anyway, back to chutney. While canning can be daunting for the volumes of time and tiring amounts of chopping, peeling, and preparing it tends to require, it can be a lot of fun, especially with a friend to split the work and share the proceeds. And once I do get around to making time for it, I find I'm usually surprised by how quickly I can actually accomplish what I set out to do. Green tomato chutney can be especially easy to prepare, with no peeling, and minimal ingredients needed for a terrific and unique condiment. You can spread it on toast or sandwiches, and it's especially good on cheese of just about any type. It makes a nice little appetizer over a water cracker spread with cream cheese. I also like pairing it with raw vegetables as a snack. Here are my personal top recipes:

Easy Green Tomato Chutney (Adapted from Cooks.com)

5 lb. green tomatoes 2 lg. onions 1 tsp. peppercorns 1 tsp. salt 3/4  lb. sugar 1 1/2 c. vinegar 1/2 c. raisins
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Slice the tomatoes and chop the onions and mix together in a basin with the peppercorns and salt. Allow this to stand overnight. Next day boil up the sugar in the vinegar, then add the raisins and ginger. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the tomatoes and onions and simmer until thick, about 40 minutes. Pour in prepared, hot canning jars, seal, and process for 20 minutes.

**I cut back on the sugar, and it still seems a lot. The original recipe calls for 1 full pound. However, given that the tomatoes weigh in at 5 pounds, that's not too bad for a pickling recipe. If you want to play with this, you can also cut back slightly on the tomatoes and add chopped apples and/or green or red peppers, too! It's  great with cider vinegar, too.

From Cooking Light:

Green Tomato Chutney

4 cups (serving size: 2 tablespoons)



  • 2  cups  chopped green tomato (about 3 medium)
  • 1  cup  chopped Granny Smith apple
  • 1/2  cup  sugar
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup  chopped onion
  • 1/4  cup  cider vinegar
  • 2  teaspoons  grated lemon rind
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground coriander
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped



Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Cool; pour into airtight containers.

Note: Refrigerate Green Tomato Chutney in airtight containers up to two months.



Mark Scarbrough, Cooking Light, AUGUST 2005
Changing tack a little bit, I have to ask: is there anything that doesn't get better with chocolate? I think not! Of course that's rhetorical! If you're in a dessert mood and want to sneak your green tomatoes into a cake, here's a recipe my Mom used to make, which apparently I loved. I haven't gotten to experiment with it myself yet, having used all our green tomatoes on pickle replacement, but when I do, I'll update this post with description and/or a lighter version.
Green Tomato Chocolate Cake
2 c flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t cinnamon ( optional)
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 t salt
2/3 c light olive oil
1 c plain yogurt
1 c sugar
1 t vanilla
3 eggs
2 chopped green tomatoes (drain the liquid if any)
1 T orange zest
Glaze - 1/2 c + 1 T orange juice, 1/4 c brown sugar, 1/4 c orange liquer
Preheat oven to 350 and spray a bundt pan ( or 9x13 or 2 round cake pans)
On wax paper or plastic bag, mix dry ingredients except sugar. In large bowl, beat oil, yogurt, sugar, and vanilla until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix flour mixture in until well combined. Stir in green tomatoes and orange zest. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. For 9x13, probably about 30 to 35 minutes. For round cake pans, 20 to 25 minutes.
In small pan, simmer orange juice and sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add orange liquer and bring to a simmer. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes and pierce all over with a skewer. Pour glaze over. cake. Cool completely. Chill cake covered overnight.
*You can dust the cake with powdered sugar or make a ganache or make a cream cheese icing.