Transforming tomatoes into delicious chutneys

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Growing vegetables in a compact garden involves being creative with the space you have and the crops you grow. Tomatoes are one of the most space efficient crops in the garden and can be squeezed into the smallest of spaces, especially the cordon varieties which are trained up a cane or string, which is why I grow them on my small plot in Suffolk.

Cordon tomatoes

Although usually regarded as vegetables, tomatoes are actually fruits since this is the part of the plant you eat, unlike root or leaf crops. I think they are among the most exciting things to grow for their wide range of shapes, sizes, colours and, of course, tastes. Centuries of breeding have created a vast range, including cherry, plum, beefsteak and standard types.

I grew four cordon varieties in growing bags against the sunniest wall of my garden; watering (they like a good soak as they have deep roots). feeding with a high-potassium feed and pinching out the side shoots on a regular basis and they have rewarded me with a bumper crop of delicious tomatoes.

Tomatoes growing

Transforming crops into delicious chutneys, jams and jellies is an ideal way to preserve a wide range of fruits and vegetables, capturing their flavours when they are at their peak. My tomatoes have been ripening from midsummer onwards and the smaller varieties have ripened quickly, so it is the larger, traditional tomatoes that I use to make green tomato chutney as they are still mostly unripe.

Trug of tomatoes

When making chutney use whatever produce is on hand - surplus is the idea and there is no need to slavishly follow a recipe. I use 2.5kg green tomatoes, 500g onions, 2 windfall apples, 200g sultanas, 1 litre malt vinegar and seasoning. Slice the tomatoes and onions into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and cover. Leave overnight. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and bring to the boil.

Drain the tomatoes and add with the other ingredients and simmer gently for about two hours. Chutneys take their time - gently simmering will deepen the flavour. It is best eaten after a month and will store for up to two years.

What better way to show off your harvest than in the kitchen?

Green Tomato Chutney

Thanks for reading!

This post was written by the lovely Ann of Suffolk Pebbles - who lives and gardens nearby the sea in Suffolk.