Pear and Green Tomato Chutney

Pear and Green Tomato Chutney


I was always a "late-bloomer" so I was not at all surprised that my tomato plants are too. It's the way it is with me. The plants bore fruit in October rather than at the end of August, when they are supposed to (in my part of the world anyway).

As for me, well, my mother always said "what's the rush?" and of course she was right. I eventually did lose that first tooth, need a bra, learn to ride a bike.

But the tomatoes were a different story. A hurricane was coming (or so I thought). I wasn't about to let the wind and rain destroy those beautiful, slowly-ripening green things. Not after an entire summer of tending to my garden and kvelling when the tiny yellow flowers finally turned themselves into real, would-be tomatoes.

I left a couple on the vine -- just in case the storm passed us by. (It did!)

But with the rest? Some are on the windowsill waiting to ripen. The others became chutney.

Late-bloomers do hold their own in the world in some magnificent way.


Pear and Green Tomato Chutney


  • 3 pounds ripe but firm pears (about 6), peeled, cored and sliced

  • 1 pound yellow onions, peeled and chopped

  • 3 large green tomatoes, cut into chunks (or use 3-4 cups halved green cherry tomatoes)

  • 1-1/2 cups raisins

  • 3 stalks celery, sliced about 1/4-inch thick

  • 3 cups brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 6 whole peppercorns


Place the pears, onions, tomatoes, raisins, celery, brown sugar, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and apple cider vinegar into a large saucepan. Wrap the peppercorns in cheesecloth (or inside a muslin bag) and add to the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly to mix the ingredients. Lower the heat, cover the pan partially and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours or until thick.

Makes about 5 cups



Pear and Green Tomato Chutney

I goofed. Really, really goofed.

This past summer I decided to plant tomatoes. Just one plant, because in years gone by the deer came and ate everything, flowers, tiny green fruit and all. So I gave up for a while, but this year risked it with one plant.

But I did it too late. So in late August when everyone was harvesting gorgeous red fruit from their vines, my plants were flowering. I got some lovely green tomatoes by mid-September and thought I had a chance to get some good red ones — if only there was time and temperature. Well it got colder at night. And the earth is in a different place with respect to the sun (thanks Galileo!).

The tomatoes were getting bruised looking and ratty. Some had soft spots. 

I realized I would not get one red tomato this year.

Never mind. This became the perfect opportunity to make green tomato chutney, don’t you agree?

Next year I’ll start earlier. The deer have found greener pastures than my back yard.

Btw, if you prefer, make this with apples instead of pears.

Pear and Green Tomato Chutney

  • 6 medium pears, peeled, cored and chopped

  • 2 pounds green tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped

  • 2 small chili peppers such as serrano, deseeded and chopped

  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped dried apricots

  • 1 cup golden raisins

  • 1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups brown sugar

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons curry powder

  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed 

Place the pears, tomatoes, onions, chili peppers, garlic, apricots, raisins, ginger, vinegar, brown sugar, curry powder and mustard seed in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 2-1/2 hours or until very thick.

Makes about 2-1/2 quarts