About 4 weeks ago I said that I would move away from the original subject matter of my blog, and whilst that is still true (I am working on it now but will probably take another few months to get up and running) this is a great forum for storing recipes and other how-to’s (which if I am honest is what I was using the original shappyhopper.com domain for – I had that domain 14 years ago, I can’t remember now how log ago it was I moved to a .co.uk).

This weekend I made another batch of my Greengage and Tomato Chutney. I last made this in November 2012, when I had not been able to gather many Greengages (I “foraged” for them in the car park of an industrial estate) having left it too late in the year. Last year however I did very well and gathered bags of them – 150+ fruit in all.

This then went straight into my freezer (in late 2013) because the fruit spoils very quickly. I had every intention of making chutney very soon after that…… and after nearly a year my wife told me to do something with it or chuck it.

I liked the Greengage chutney I made last time, and it was well received at the 2012 BOGIES Christmas dinner (during the chutney competition – I won the competition at the 2013 dinner, with a rabbit pie I made from scratch, including preparing the rabbit as per the survival course I attended in September 2012) but the sheer volume of chutney I would have made if I had scaled the recipe up (e.g. 32 large tomatoes, 8 onions….) made me rethink the recipe.

Here then is the new recipe – the chutney will be ready in December 2014 so please bear in mind this might be awful. Also I mentioned in my original post that I should have halved the fruit before freezing, and removed the stones. I didn’t, I should have, I hope I remember next time.


  • 150 greengages (approx), with skins and stones removed (in my case the fruit could be squeezed once thawed and the flesh just ran out – it has the consistency of baby food)
  • 4 large onions, roughly chopped
  • 5 large vine ripened tomatoes (go for the ripest you can find), roughly chopped
  • 500ml of white wine vinegar
  • 440g Demerera sugar
  • 25 cloves freshly crushed garlic (4 full bulbs – I grew two of them myself) of garlic, I used two white bulbs (the ones I grew) and two red (from the shop but I hope to have some home grown ones by next summer)
  • Half cup of lemon juice
  • 2.5 tsp (or to taste) of Birdseye chilli (from a spices jar)
  • 25ml of olive oil
  • 7.5 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 7.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 5.5 tsp cardamom pods (green)
  • 15 whole star anise, lightly ground in a pestle and mortar
  • Ground sea salt (to taste – I added 20 “grinds” from a hand grinder)


To cook:

  • Put the chopped onions into your pan and add the oil. Mix well and place on the heat. Cook until the onions start to soften.
  • Then add the garlic. I had some help from Bella (my daughter) as we crushed the garlic cloves directly over the onions, which kept as much of the garlic oil as possible.
  • Add the mustard seeds, ground ginger, turmeric, cardamom and star anise and stir well.
  • Continue to cook until the onions are very soft (we took some time to crush the 25 cloves as Bella wanted to do them herself)
  • Add the remaining ingredients except the greengages (do not crush the cardamon pods) and stir well.
  • Once well stirred add the greengages
  • Stir well
  • Reduce; I put mine on a low heat for 3+ hours stirring regularly. It went from a light yellow colour to a dark brown. You can tell it is thickening when the cardamom pods stop floating on the surface
  • It is ready when you can score a line through it with a wooden spoon and it doesn’t immediately fill with liquid (takes a few seconds)
  • Put in jars as per normal chutney/ canning process


You are not supposed to try the chutney when cooking it but I was working at times to taste. The above produced a hot chutney with a sharp taste (like the hot sauce you get in an Indian restaurant with papadum appetisers).

This recipe produced 4 and a bit standard jars of chutney.

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