Falling for Tumbling Tom


One of my hanging baskets of Tumbling Tom tomatoes

Usually making green tomato chutney is an admission of failure. Your tomatoes haven’t ripened, even when you’ve wrapped them in newspaper and put them in a drawer with a banana for company.

Not this year. I’ve had ripe tomatoes galore around the kitchen door, in growbags, pots and hanging baskets: big bright red ones and juicy red and yellow cherry tomatoes called Tumbling Toms. They have made me salads and sauces, tomato and olive tarts and been roasted in the oven to concentrate the sweetness.

I have had them fried on toast with a sprinkling of herbs as my favourite breakfast. All this without a greenhouse. It must be global warming!

I’ve always loved the scent of tomatoes but have never had much success growing them until recently. It all started when a neighbour asked me to water his plants while on holiday. I was enchanted by the sight of tomatoes cascading from the hanging baskets and was immediately struck down by tomato envy. The following year I grew my own, some from seed. Now, two years on, it’s Tomato Wars on my street!

But it’s getting colder and there are some which are never going to ripen so it is time for green tomato chutney. I turned to a recipe from Nigel Slater but played around with it, adding more spices than his austere version. Here it is.

900g green tomatoes, chopped
300g onions,chopped
90g raisins
250g light muscovado sugar
1 red chilli, deseeded
1 tsp salt
2 tsp mustard seeds
300ml white wine vinegar.

Add all to the pan and proceed as usual for a chutney (see my post, Chutney for chumps).

I hesitate to ‘improve’ on the Master but I didn’t have any white wine vinegar so used up an old bottle of sherry vinegar and replaced the muscovado with granuated sugar. Slater recommends yellow mustard seeds, I had black. I reckoned the chutney needed some extra spice so added two cloves of garlic, a thumb of grated ginger and a couple of teaspoons of garam masala.

There are a lot of tomato skins in this recipe so I cut the tomatoes finely and didn’t add the sugar until halfway through cooking because it tends to harden ingredients.

I filled four medium-sized jars with some left over, which was quickly eaten. I reckon this one is going to improve. It’s tangy but not over hot. And what doesn’t go with my sandwiches can always enhance a curry.


Tomatoes on toast for breakfast