This tasty recipe for spiced green tomato chutney is not only delicious, it is a great way to use up all those tomatoes which will by now have little to no chance of ripening. Often overlooked simply as unripe and even poisonous, green tomatoes have tangible health benefits all of their own.
Recent research from the University of Iowa has shown that green tomatoes are rich in a substance that is broken down by the body into ‘tomatidine’. This incredible compound has been shown to not only increase the healthy growth, strength and stamina of muscle tissue but also slows the rate of muscle atrophy (break down) that occurs naturally during the ageing process, through lack of exercise and injury and during certain disease processes such as cancer. This research was carried out on mice. The researchers also noticed that the mice gained no extra weight whilst on the green tomato diet and cholesterol levels were lower. Green tomatoes also contain substances that have been shown to inhibit the growth of breast, colon (bowel), liver and stomach cancers. Native South Americans have been using green tomatoes for centuries against tonsillitis, sore throats, thrush, ringworm and corns (externally).
Now that the green tomato has your full attention, here is the recipe (based on a Nigel Slater recipe but without the sultanas). This makes enough for about 3 normal jam jars. Dont forget, chutney gets better and better over time as the acidity mellows and the flavours meld together. Most authorities say its ‘ready’ after about 3 months. We couldn’t wait that long, opening a jar after a week or so and finishing it within days.
900g of green tomatoes (washed and stalks removed). I added a few red and yellows in there too.
350g of white or red onions
1 tsp seasalt
Approx 1tsp chilli flakes or a whole fresh chilli
2 tsp mustard seeds (you could also experiment with other aromatic seeds)
300ml white wine vinegar
Chop the tomatoes and onions into smallish pieces (depending on whether you want a chunky or fine chutney) and add to the pan with all the other ingredients. Bring to the boil then simmer without a lid for as long as it takes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking or burning. Mine was ready after 50 minutes or so. You want it thick with no visible fluid as it won’t set like a jam or jelly. When you drag a spoon through it, it should close over slowly. Spoon into sterilised jars, label and store in a cool dark place ready for around Christmas if you can wait that long!