slow cooked green tomato and rhubarb chutney

October 11, 2010 at 10:18 pm 15 comments

After a typically British summer my tomato plants flowered abundantly during the dry spells then struggled to ripen their fruit after weeks of rain.  For a short while I enjoyed cherry tomatoes plucked straight from the vine and mealtimes showered with oven roasted tomatoes.

Heaps of green tomatoes at the end of the summer might have made the heart of many a gardener sink into their boots.  Mine was popping out of my chest at a prize far greater than sun ripened red ones.

My interest in gardening sprang from an insatiable desire for my mother-in-laws green tomato chutney; a preserve that money can’t buy and supermarkets can’t supply the main ingredient for.  Growing my own green tomatoes was the only way to ensure a lifetime supply of my favourite chutney. 

Dealing with over 10lbs of green tomatoes this year called for more pots than I had available.  Using a slow cooker was a revelation and I still haven’t worked out why it’s never occurred to me before!  I was able to make up a recipe as I went along adding vinegar, sugar and spices as teaspoon tastings dictated.  For two very sour raw fruits I was surprised at how modest a measure of sugar was needed compared to other green tomato chutney recipes.  For the first several hours it seems like nothing is happening and there are no vinegary fumes to give the game away.  You can let it simmer on a low heat overnight (no more past-midnight bottling for me – hooray!) and in the morning jar it up at your own leisure.

to make green tomato and rhubarb chutney

1lb (450g) green tomatoes, sliced or whole if cherry tomatoes
1lb (450g) rhubarb, chunks
2 large red onions, sliced
0.5 lb (225g) apples, weight after peeling and chopping
0.25 lb (110g) raisins
0.5 pint (284ml) red wine vinegar
1.5 lb (675g) sugar
4 cloves
2 tsp ground allspice

  • Put the tomatoes, rhubarb, onions, apple and raisins into the slow cooker and set to a medium heat.  (I used frozen rhubarb which added some moisture to the pot – if using fresh add half a cup of water)
  • Allow to reduce for about 4 hours or until the fruit looks like it’s starting to break down.  Increase the heat setting to high and add the vinegar, sugar and spices gradually according to taste (and different combinations according to the flavours you like).  Stir well as you do this and return from time to time to check it.
  • Continue to cook for a further 6-8 hours or when it’s turned a rich brown colour and is the thickness you like.  If leaving overnight turn down to a low heat.
  • Enjoy with just about anything if you’re a chutney addict like me.  My current fave is on top of cheddar or soft cheese on a thick salted rice cake.

Entry filed under: allotment tales, in the kitchen.

making purple potato salad be content with what you have

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rachel @ Suburban Yogini  |  October 12, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Ah yes, we too had a million green tomatoes! Great recipe. I did a tomato and apple one here….

  • 2. Janet/Plantaliscious  |  October 12, 2010 at 11:17 am

    That looks – and sounds – awesome. I only have a few green toms, so I guess I’ll have to save your post and hope for more next year…

  • 3. Bilbo  |  October 13, 2010 at 10:03 am

    a prize far greater than sun ripened red ones

    I worry about you sometimes, I really do :} :} :}

  • 4. Johanna GGG  |  October 13, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I have never made green tomato chutney nor tasted it but am always curious about it – I do agree that home made chutneys are priceless for being able to have flavours that you struggle to find in bought ones

  • 5. mary daniel  |  November 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    hye im doing a Christmas event in St Briavels pavillion hall on the 5th of december and wondered if you would like to join me with a stall with chutney and the likes.It is in aid of Alzheimers and a stall is £10. plus a raffle prize pleaselet me know if you would like to come.

  • 6. Nip it in the bud  |  November 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hi Mary, thanks for the kind offer. While I have more chutneys than one family needs it’s not enough to fill a stall.
    All the best with your Christmas Fayre.

  • 7. C is for … « Nip it in the bud  |  August 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    […] apple and carrot, spicy tomato and apple chutney if I get plenty of ripe tomatoes and green tomato chutney if I […]

  • 8. Alison  |  September 17, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I’ve just used my slow cooker for the first time to make this – the first time I’ve made chutney. Totally delish! Hope you don’t mind if I share your recipe 🙂

  • 9. Nip it in the bud  |  September 18, 2012 at 6:58 am

    great to hear Alison. My slow cooker just gathers dust at the moment and this was my first year of no tomatoes or chutney making :o( Very happy for you to share the recipe

  • 10. Beverley  |  September 4, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    Got loads of split tomatoes this year due to my neglect so chutney it is then I won’t waste them.

    • 11. Nip it in the bud  |  September 4, 2014 at 8:32 pm

      green tomatoes are definitely the best for chutney making – they’re entirely the reason I got my allotment since you can’t get them in the shops. Enjoy x

  • 12. Kate El Idrissi  |  February 20, 2015 at 4:03 am

    I just finished making this without a slow cooker doubled the quantity and got 10 jars of deliciousness – I can tell already it’s going to be even more amazing once the flavours have developed over a few months. Thanks so much!

    • 13. Nip it in the bud  |  February 20, 2015 at 7:13 am

      I’m so pleased Kate. I’ve not made any chutney for a couple of years and am getting towards the end of my stores. If you can bear the wait its worth hiding a couple of jars to happen across in a few years when they’ll be even more wonderful :0)

  • 14. margaret lynn Atkinson  |  October 19, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    I learned to prepare green tomato in USA. ..They sliced them and sprinkle do with salt .leave overnight.. This allows the water to seep out…I did this in the first batch but not second….much les fluid in the first batch at the end of processing. ..

  • 15. five ways with … a ton of rhubarb | Nip it in the bud  |  November 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

    […] rhubarb and green tomato chutney […]


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