This recipe for sweet and spicy tomato chutney is hands-down everyone's favorite condiment on any meat, vegetables, and more (like dipping fries!). It's the first thing on my list to make enough of when tomatoes are in season - we NEVER want to run out of this tomato chutney!
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Most people I talk to don't have much experience with chutney except for the occasional visit to an Indian restaurant. They aren't sure if it is something they would eat or what they would eat it with.
I was totally this way, too - I mean I knew about chutney, but I don't think I'd actually ever tasted it before making my first chutney, Spicy Rhubarb Chutney, after growing rhubarb for the first time.
And the same thing happened with tomatoes - if I hadn't had a heap of tomatoes left even after all the salsa and marinara sauce we'd need for the year had been made, I may have never decided to try tomato chutney.
And my life would've been sadder for it (and I'm not even exaggerating).
I found a small batch recipe, adapted it to our tastes (safely - see note) and the result was history - for our family at least!
A Lower Sugar Option
If you've seen any vintage canning recipes, one thing you may have noticed is they often include large amounts of sugar.
One of the things I did adapt from that first recipe was the amount of sugar (along with other changes I made in seasonings and flavors).
By the way, it's perfectly safe to cut sugar (or substitute dry seasonings, etc.) from a canning recipe that also calls for vinegar as the sugar is used mainly for flavor.
But as we moved towards a more healthy, whole foods lifestyle, I started to feel bad about all the sugar I added when making the tomato chutney. I mean, just a little (ha!) - but if I could lower and not notice, wouldn't that be a good thing?
After a couple of so-so batches (still OK, but not the same), I hit upon a ratio that not only cuts the total sugar in half, but also uses a combination of honey and brown sugar - and tastes just as good (maybe better?).
I include both the original chutney and the lower sugar option amounts in the recipe below - make both and see which you like better!
How to Use Tomato Chutney
Some readers have asked how we use this chutney. I usually say, "what don't we use it on?" But then suggest things like eggs, frittatas, fries, burgers, meats, Indian curries, roasted and grilled vegetables, grilled cheese…the list goes on.
It's basically an "adult ketchup" and anything you'd use ketchup on is a million times better with this chutney.
Yep, a million. (Again, not an exaggeration.)
If you're still unsure about chutney, like I was, I encourage you to give this tomato chutney recipe a try because it's so good you'll be ruined forever for using regular ketchup. Promise.
How to Make Tomato Chutney
There's nothing fancy about the ingredients needed to make this chutney, but when it all comes together you'd never guess the humble beginnings.
- You will need to use Canning & Pickling Salt that is made with no additives. While you could use another pure salt like sea salt, the volume may differ and since this is a canned recipe, so I recommend the canning & pickling salt, though sea salt will do if that's all you have. (If you're not going to can it, though, you can substitute any salt.)
- Vinegar - I prefer apple cider vinegar, but white vinegar will work, too.
- Brown sugar and honey.
- Raisins - most chutneys include this ingredient (see my way of dealing the the least appealing part of using raisins below), but you can see in the photo above that you can substitute dates if you need to! Just chop them up - they work just as well.
- Onions and garlic and a lime.
- Spices: ground ginger, cumin, and red pepper flakes (you can save a lot if you buy pepper flakes in a larger container like this - and then you'll have flakes to make things like this honey-sweetened Sweet Chili Sauce, too!), salt and pepper
- 6-quart pot for single recipe, 8-quart or larger stock pot for double (I'm using a 12-quart pot with a glass lid in the pictured doubled recipe - it can also work as a small-batch water canner if you add a rack to the bottom like you can see in the video for this rhubarb chutney recipe).
- Knife and cutting board (a food processor helps a LOT, though).
For canning, gather 5 half-pint mason jars and a water bath canner - this stainless steel canner with a glass lid has change for my preserving life forever.
See my favorite canning and preserving supplies here for more recommendations.
For freezing, you can use the same mason jars (they are freezer safe) or other freezer container of your choice.
Start the chutney recipe by prepping the main ingredient - tomatoes.
I used to peel (see my quicker peel technique here), core and chop the tomatoes, but now simply core and quarter them before adding them to a food processor to chop fine, peels and all. #lifechanging
So, to be clear, you do NOT need to peel the tomatoes if you chop with a food processor - the processor chops them fine enough that you will not notice them. Wash the tomatoes well and you're good to go (If you chop by hand, you will need to peel, though, because the peels will be too big).
However you prep the tomatoes, place them in an 8-cup measuring cup as they are ready so you can measure out the 7 cups you need for the recipe.
Then add them to a large stock pot. Then it's just a matter of prepping and adding the other ingredients.
The other thing that's nice about using a food processor, is that you can then use it to chop the garlic quickly and then add it to the pot of tomatoes.
I like this food processor. I use one all.the.time in the kitchen.
Now here's the part of chutney I wasn't always thrilled about: the raisins.
Whole raisins get all plump and squishy when they're cooked and that's just not my favorite thing.
But I know they are a crucial ingredient to most chutneys, so my solution is to simply chop them a bit in the food processor (right after blending the garlic!) and voila - no more fat, squishy raisins!
You'll want to measure the raisins before chopping, chop, and then add to the ingredients in the pot.
Of course you can always leave them whole if you don't mind them - it's totally up to you.
Then add the remaining ingredients through the black pepper to the pot .
FYI - I usually always make a double batch, so this a 12-quart pot. This recipe is so good I can't even think about making a single batch anymore!
See the lime zest to the right? That and the lime juice may be one of the ingredients that puts it over the top - don't leave it out!
I zest the lime right into the pot using one of these microplane graters - I use it all the time in my kitchen. Then juice the lime and it's ready to be cooked down into deliciousness.
Cooking the Tomato Chutney
Your chutney will need to simmer for a few hours, with you stirring occasionally. Here's what the chutney will look like as it cooks down:
At the one-hour mark.
The chutney should have reduced in volume by 1/8 to 1/4 and thickened a bit.
At the two-hour mark.
After cooking for a little over 2 hours, it is rich and thick and, as you can see, reduced almost by half.
Now you can boil-water can the chutney or let it cool a bit before transferring to freezer-safe containers.
To Can or Not to Can
Now, you will need to decide if you want to can this in a boiling-water canner. I always do, but I have frozen extras with good success, and the half-pints also keep well in refrigerated storage for 2-3 months.
To have the convenience of it ready to go on the shelf, as well as a year to a year-and-a-half storage life, canning is an easy alternative.
Safety Note: As with any canned recipe (especially tomatoes), this recipe is tested for the acid-ratio balance to be safe for room temperature storage. You can NOT add fresh peppers in place of dried in this recipe and then can it - it will not be safe then. You are free to freeze it, though, if you want to use fresh peppers.
If you've water-bath canned before, you know what I'm talking about and if you haven't, I made this video tutorial that walks you through the steps:
If you are canning, prepare six to seven 1/2-pint canning jars (or 3 pints) and the other equipment you'll need as described here in the written tutorial for step-by-step water-bath canning.
When your canner, lids, and jars are ready, ladle the chutney into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Secure the lids on with the screw bands and place in the canner.
When the water comes to a roiling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes. (This is for sea-level - go to this site, to see how much time to add if you're at elevation.)
Note: I am using a flat canning rack like this - I can fit more of the half-pint sized jars in the canner than with the standard divided rack. I LOVE it - plus the smaller jars don't fall over like they did with all the extra room in the racks meant for quart jars.
When the timer goes off, turn the burner off, remove lid and let jars sit for 5 minutes.
Transfer the jars to a towel-lined surface and leave undisturbed for 24 hours before labeling, checking lids and storing in a cool, dark place.
Your chutney is now good for 18 months - but I seriously doubt it will last that long!
This chutney is insanely great! Yum! I can't recommend this recipe enough. I made it and in our house hold of 5 people we are down to our last jar in 4 days.Jen
Ok I made this and had never eaten chutney before/didn't understand how other ppl were saying they ate all of it in a day or a week. WOWOWOW SO GOOD, I did end up eating 3 (1/2 pint) jars in the 1st 2 days after making it.Anastasia
An Oregon Cottage Recipes that Pair Well With Tomato Chutney
- Smashed Garlic Pub Burgers (and don't forget to dip those fries, too)
- Roasted Sausages with Peppers and Onions Sheet Pan Dinner
- Easy Lemon-Garlic Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
- Quick Sausage & Kale or Swiss Chard Frittata Recipe
- Easy Potato And Caramelized Onion Frittata Recipe
- Easy Grilled Vegetables
If you make this, be sure to let me know what you like to use it on!
Addictive Tomato Chutney Recipe
- Food Processor, knife & cutting board
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 6 to 8-quart stock pot
- Canner and canning jars (use the jars for freezing, too)
- 4 pounds tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped*
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (about a medium sized head)
- 1/2 cup raisins, (chopped in processor)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, (LOWER SUGAR VERSION: 1/2 cup)
- 3/4 cup white sugar (OMIT FOR LOWER SUGAR AND SUB 1/4 cup honey)
- 1½ cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon canning & pickling salt (can sub pure sea salt if you need to)
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 to 3 teaspoons hot pepper flakes or to taste**
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Prep the tomatoes, chopping either by hand or with a food processor: Core and quarter the tomatoes and add them - unpeeled - in batches to a food processor, whirring until evenly chopped (fairly fine). Alternately, core, peel and chop the tomatoes by hand. You should have 7 cups of chopped/pureed tomatoes.
- Combine the tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients in a heavy, nonreactive 4-6 quart pot (if doubling the recipe, use an 8 to 12-quart stockpot).
- Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower heat and cook at a low simmer (just a few bubbles here and there) for 1-1/2 to 2 hours until thickened.*** Stir often as it thickens to prevent scorching.
- To Can: Prepare water-bath canner, lids and jars. (Refer to this complete water-bath tutorial here.)
- Ladle the chutney into 1/2 pint canning jars leaving 1/4" headspace and attach the two-piece canning lids. Transfer to canner as you fill and seal.
- Once all the jars are added, bring the canner to a boil for 10 minutes (both half-pints and pints), adjusting heat as needed to keep a medium boil (not too hard).
- When timer goes off, turn off burner, remove lid and let jars sit for 5 minutes before removing the jars to a towel-lined surface to cool for 12 to 24 hours. Check seals and store in a dark, cool place.
- To Freeze: Ladle into freezer-safe containers (canning jars are okay to freeze), label and store in the freezer up to a year.
Other Tomato Recipes You May Like:
This recipe has been updated - it was originally published August 2009. The original and low sugar version (published in 2012) were also combined into this one recipe.
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