This tomato chutney recipe is one of my favorite methods for preserving an abundant tomato crop from the vegetable garden. Add it to your homemade pantry!
Be sure to try this delicious salsa recipe for canning, too.
Chef’s tomato chutney recipe
My friend Claudette is a personal chef. She cooks professionally for people who can afford such things. When Claudette cooks, people pay attention. My kids love to have dinner at her house because it is guaranteed to be a noteworthy meal.
She makes some amazing sausage rolls and serves them with a tomato chutney that is to die for. I enjoy the sausage rolls, but I have to admit, I’m fully prepared to forgo the rolls and resort to a spoon for the tomato chutney. Seriously. That good.
When I raved (over and over again) about the chutney, she shared her recipe with me. I modified it to assure that it’s safe for canning and now I try to keep some in my pantry at all times!
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Tomatoes – Start with tomatoes fresh off the vine for the best flavor; Roma tomatoes are great, but beefsteak varieties will work, too. Chop the tomatoes by hand aiming for a quarter-inch dice, or use your food processor and pulse the tomatoes and peppers to chop them.
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Do you need to peel the tomatoes? I don’t, but if that’s your preference, here’s how to peel tomatoes like my mom does it.
Vinegar – This recipe calls for two different kinds of vinegar, red wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar. It’s what makes this a sweet and tangy tomato chutney.
Sugar – Use granulated sugar for this recipe. I prefer to use an organic cane sugar to avoid genetically modified ingredients, but your favorite brand will be just fine.
Red peppers – Using red peppers adds flavor and sweetness to the chutney recipe. You could probably use orange or yellow bells, too, but I definitely wouldn’t use green bell peppers.
Green onions – Instead of bulb onions, this recipe calls for milder sliced green onions.
Seasonings – Along with salt and pepper, mustard seeds and red pepper flakes offer up flavor and spice. While this recipe is a slightly spicy tomato chutney, it’s not terribly hot. If you’d like more heat, you can safely double the red pepper flakes.
Making the chutney
You’ll start by heating the vinegar, sugar, and spices. While that’s heating, chop the vegetables. You can do this by hand or use a food processor as I do.
Core and quarter the tomatoes and put them in the bowl of the food processor. Use a pulsing method to reduce the tomatoes to a chunky pulp.
Repeat with both the peppers and the onions.
Combine the chopped veggies with the vinegar and seasonings and cook for a couple of hours, until the chutney is thick and reduced by about half.
Canning this tomato chutney
If you’re new to home food preservation, be sure to read this for an understanding of canning equipment and how it works.
Once the ingredients are chopped and cooked, you’ll ladle the chutney into pint jars. Fill seven jars; that’s how many will fit in a standard canning pot. I have a canning funnel for this purpose, that makes it easier to transfer the chutney into the jars without a lot of mess.
Use a damp cloth to wipe the rim of each jar; a little bit of food on the jar rim can prevent the lids from sealing properly. Set the lids in place and screw the bands on firmly tight (but not too tight). Use a jar lifter to transfer jars into the gently boiling water. As stated above, the water in the pot should cover the jars by about an inch. If necessary add more water to the canner.
Process jars for the recommended time. (See below.) When time is up, use the jar lifter to transfer jars to a flat surface that’s padded with a kitchen towel. Allow jars to cool completely. As they cool, you’ll begin to hear a canner’s favorite sound: That lovely little tink! that indicates a successful seal.
Once jars are thoroughly cooled, check the seal on all of the jars. The lid should be concave and solid. If it flexes at all, it’s not sealed. (Place any jars that didn’t seal in the refrigerator and use them first. They are not shelf stable.)
Remove bands from cooled jars and rinse the jars. Store jars without the bands.
Canning is an excellent way to preserve food for the pantry, but there are some important safety considerations to keep in mind.
- Know the difference between water bath canning and pressure canning. Low acid items must be pressure canned for safety.
- Altering ingredients may change the recipe’s pH, posing a safety issue. I highly recommend investing in pH paper to test your products for acidity level when canning. Note: The Hawaii Master Food Preservers suggest a pH of 4.2 or lower in the tropics. In other regions, the recommended pH is 4.6 or lower.
- Use the proper jars and lids. Never reuse lids, with the exception of the Tattler lids that are intended for such a purpose.
- For more on canning equipment, please go here.
- The recipes on this site have been made following safe canning procedures by a certified Master Food Preserver.
This tomato chutney is a good beginner recipe for novice home canners. (Find more easy canning recipes here.) Canning chutney at home is not hard. It’s basically a lot of chopping.
If you want to make this amazing tomato chutney but don’t want to do any canning, you can simply make it and store it in the fridge for 4-6 weeks.
Be sure to read this for more on canning tomatoes.
★ Did you make this tomato chutney recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★
Vinegar, Sugar, and Spices:
- 2 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
- 3 3/4 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 3/4 cups granulated organic cane sugar
- 5 tsp. sea salt
- 3 Tablespoons mustard seeds
- 2 1/2 teaspoons pepper
- 2 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 5 pounds chopped tomatoes
- 5 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 3 3/4 cup sliced green onions
Making the chutney:
- Combine red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, sugar, and spice ingredients to a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
- Add vegetables. Simmer all ingredients for about two hours or until thickened and reduced by half. As the chutney thickens, you'll need to stir more frequently (and watch out - it can get a bit volcanic as it bubbles away).
Canning the chutney:
- While the chutney is cooking, fill a canning pot with water, set the lid in place, and heat on high heat until boiling.
- Ladle hot chutney into pint or half-pint jars, leaving 1/2" head space. A canning funnel makes this easy.
- Wipe jar rims to remove any chutney that may have spilled. A clean rim is essential to a good seal.
- Set jar lids in place. Screw bands on finger tight, firmly, but don't crank the rings on.
- Use a jar lifter to gently submerge jars into boiling water in canning pot. Water should cover the top of the jars by an inch. The water will cool somewhat in reaction to the addition of the jars. Return the water to a low boil and set the timer.
- Process for 15 minutes; 20 minutes for elevations above 6,000 feet.
- Allow jars to cool overnight.
- Check for seal: the lids should feel solid and slightly indented. If they flex, they are not shelf stable and should be refrigerated and used first.
- Wash jars, remove rings, and store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
This recipe tested at a pH of 3.0 making it safe for water bath canning.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 42 Serving Size: 1/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 7mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 1g
Here are some more canning recipes to try!
Applesauce is easy to make and preserve with a water bath. Here’s how.
Originally published August 2011; this post has been updated.