Tomato Chutney

Kate Punshon - Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Preserve the abundant tomato harvest with this classic tomato chutney. Its long slow simmering produces an intense tomato flavour that epitomizes summer and the mustard and curry powders contribute to its unique flavour. Special thanks to my mother-in-law for sharing her prized family recipe. Thick and chunky, its versatility is outstanding. It enlivens and enhances hot and cold meats, is indispensable at BBQ’s and can transform the humble sandwich. Enjoy each loving and addictive spoonful.  

Preparation time:      45 minutes + 2 hrs draining
Cooking time:            1.5 hrs
Quantity:                     8 x 325 ml jars


Sterilise sealable glass jars and lids.
Prepare tomatoes as outlined in the Method section.

Ingredient list

4 kg red tomatoes
1 kg brown or red onions
1.2 litre white wine or apple cider vinegar
680 g white sugar
70 g salt (preserving salt)
25 g mustard powder
20 g curry powder


  1. Wash and gently dry the tomatoes. 

  2. Remove the stem by inserting a small sharp vegetable knife a short distance from the stem. Using as slight inward angle cut in a circular motion all the way around the stem. Repeat the process until the stem has been removed from all the tomatoes (Refer photograph above). 

  3. Coarsely chop the tomatoes . Peel and coarsely chop the onions.  Mix chopped tomato and onions together and sprinkle with salt, cover with a clean tea towel and leave for 2 hours.

  4. Drain this mixture and discard the salty liquid.

  5. Place in a large preserving pot and add the vinegar. Bring to boil, and then turn down to simmer. 

  6. In the meantime measure out and combine the sugar, mustard and curry powder. 

  7. When the tomato mixture starts to simmer, add the sugar mixture and stir until it has dissolved. 

  8. Simmer gently uncovered, stirring frequently for approximately 45-60 minutes or until it has reached a thick chutney consistency.The frequent stirring will  prevent the mixture from burning on the bottom of the pan 

  9. Use a funnel to pour into dry sterilised screw cap sealable bottles, fill to approximately 2.5cm (I inch) from the top of the bottle and seal.

  10. Seal, label and store in a cool dark place in the kitchen or pantry.

  11. Allow to mature for at least 2 weeks before eating, for the flavours to fully develop and mellow.


  1. Even though I cook up about 10-12 kg of tomatoes every summer just to make chutney, a batch size that uses 4 kg tomatoes is about the perfect size. Any larger and you will have to use much larger or  commercial strainers and pots and it will take a lot longer to bring to boil and then simmer to the right consistency. 

  2. The 2 hour marinating time can be extended. If it is left to marinate overnight, it should be refrigerated. 

  3. Salting the tomatoes and onions draws out excess water. This is drained off and discarded. Removing the excess water considerably reduces the cooking time required to achieve a naturally thickened consistency.

  4. Use pickling salt, not table salt , when making pickles and preserves. Table salt contains stabilisers and anti-caking agents and often iodide which forms a whitish haze and sediment. These additives and in particular iodine can affect the appearance and taste of pickles and preserves during the maturation and storage period. The ingestion of a cocktail of anti-caking chemicals such as calcium silicate, sodium silicoaluminate, tricalcium phosphate, magnesium carbonate, silicon dioxide and yellow prussate of soda, is also unnecessary. 

  5. Read the label before buying and look for salt that is free from any artificial additives. 

  6. The type and colour of the sugar and vinegar used will affect the final colour and flavour of the chutney. Malt vinegar and brown sugar will produce very dark brownish red chutney with a more earthy/molasses background flavour. White wine vinegar or apple cider and white sugar will produce chutney that has a fresher and brighter tomato flavour. This is a matter of personal choice.

  7. The vinegar content conrtibutes to the chutney's  keeping quality, however, my preferred sealing and storage method is to further preserve the finished chutney in a water  bath in my Fowlers Vaccola Preserving Kit

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