As summer gives way to the cooler autumn days, our thoughts turn now to preserving some of summers bountiful harvest. This recipe for red tomato chutney from the book Home Pickling by Henry Sarson, is ideal for storing away until the colder winter months, by which time the flavours will have developed and softened, making an ideal accompaniment to lovely sharp cheeses and meats.
Why Make Chutney and Preserves?
Once upon a time, every household who could grow a few things in their garden would have preserved their produce to see them through the harsh winter months. They added flavour and variety to what would otherwise be a very bland diet.
Preserving was especially important during WWII. Food supplies were rationed and Dig for Victory was embraced by the nation. Books like Home Pickling by Henry Sarson were invaluable.
Today, there is plenty of variety of foods available throughout the year and you can buy every variety of pickle and chutney that you could imagine! But there is nothing to beat the taste and sense of achievement of making your own. Not to mention the money saving potential!
If there is a downside… ? (but I honestly love the smell!)
Is It Difficult?
Happily, making preserves is really easy!
There are many recipes for chutney out there but while the ingredients used may differ, the method remains largely the same.
This recipe uses a little spice and some sultanas for a fruity twist but these can easily be left out and other flavours added such as chilli for a bit of a kick!
Henry Sarsons Red Tomato Chutney Recipe
3lbs of ripe tomatoes (1.4kg)
1lb sugar (450g)
½lb shallots (225g)
½lb sultanas (225g)
1oz salt (28g)
1/4oz (7g) pepper
1/4oz mustard seed (7g)
½ teaspoon allspice
1½ pints vinegar (568ml)
How to Make Red Tomato Chutney
Dip the tomatoes in boiling water and skin, then chop finely.
Chop the shallots and mix both together.
Add all the other ingredients to the vinegar and bring to the boil.
Add the tomatoes and shallots and simmer slowly until it becomes really thick.
Bottle hot and keep for 2 weeks before using.
As recipes go, Henry Sarson kept it simple!
To make my chutney, I used a mixture of the cherry tomatoes that have done incredibly well in my new garden (pictures from a few weeks ago are here). I didn’t bother to skin them as they were so small!
The recipe also calls for shallots, which I have grown but I have plans for those! So instead I used finely chopped onions.
I was concerned about the amount of sugar in the recipe. Would the finished chutney be too sweet? But I have put my trust in Henry Sarson and used the specified amount of white granulated sugar. We’ll see just how sweet it turns out!
Choosing the right preserving pan is very important when making chutney. Aluminium pans are not suitable as the metal will react with the acid in the vinegar and spoil the chutney.
Once the chutney has simmered and become really thick and almost jammy, it is then simply a case of spooning it into warm sterilised jars. I used old jam jars with the labels removed (here is a great tip for how to remove stubborn labels from old jam jars) and sterilised them by putting them into a low oven.
This recipe made around 1½ kg of chutney so about 3 or 4 jars worth, depending on the capacity of the jars you use.
I’ll be giving the chutney a taste in a couple of weeks to see haw it tastes…and I’ll update this post to let you know!
If you decide to have a go at this recipe I would really love to here how it goes!
9th October 2018
First of all I have to apologise for not updating this post after I made this chutney nearly a year ago. We’ve had a bit of a tough year and I have to say it simply got overlooked…but, after a gentle nudge from a reader of The Thrifty Squirrels (thanks Steve!) I can now give you an update on the taste of this red tomato chutney.
My first impressions after a couple of weeks maturing was that the chutney was pretty sweet and could easily take less sugar. This could be because my cherry tomatoes were lovely and sweet and other varieties may fair better but also I think our taste buds these days are getting used to much less sugar in products so when making it again I would be more than happy to reduce the sugar content by as much as 25%.
Other than that the taste is really very delicious and just what you would hope for from a homemade chutney. It is rich and tomato-y with a great balance of flavours.
This has been a really popular recipe on The Thrifty Squirrels blog for a good few weeks now so I do hope you’re all out there preserving your summer harvests!! ☺