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Notes from a Wildlife Garden

Show me the way to tomatillo chutney

By Ruth D’Alessandro, The Wildlife Gardener The Wildlife Gardener loves tomatillos. They were a success last year, an even better one this year. Now that my current culinary obsession is pickling and bottling, it seemed only right that Tomatillo Chutney should come out of the Wildlife Garden kitchen. Also, Mr Mike Lang of Another Pint Please has been transatlantically waiting for this day. So Mikey Baby, this one’s for you.

Tomatillo chutney ingredients

I must admit that this is not wholly an original Wildlife Garden recipe. It’s more of a Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall-meets-Geeta-Samtani chimera: the gist of it has been taken from The River Cottage Cookbook, but I’ve aligned the spicing to Geeta’s Mango Chutney (THE best, with whole peppercorns, cardamoms and cloves floating about) so I didn’t have to fiddle about tying up spices in a little muslin bag and dangling into the saucepan. The bulk of the ingredients did come from the Wildlife Garden, though.

  • 500g marrows or courgettes, cut into 1 cm dice
  • 500g tomatillos, halved and sliced into half moons
  • 500g windfall apples, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
  • 250g onions, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
  • 250g dried fruit (with the candied peel picked out)
  • 250g dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 300ml spiced pickling vinegar, or wine vinegar
  • 1 dried hot chilli, crumbled
  • 6 green cardamom pods, cracked
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
All chopped up

Simply put all the ingredients into a large preserving pan, bring them slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Then, simmer the chutney very gently with the lid off for about 3 hours. Stir it every 20 minutes or so. While the chutney is cooking, sterilise your old pickle jars (with the plastic-coated lids) by washing and rinsing in hot water (or the dishwasher) and drying them off in a warm oven. The chutney should reduce and thicken, and it is ready when a wooden spoon pushed through it makes it part, to show the bottom of the pan. Let the chutney cool a little, and pot up while still warm. Ideally, it should be stored in a cool dark place and left to mature for 2-3 months. The above quantities made 3 jars and a little bit extra to try out in a sandwich:

Ready to go

So what was Wildlife Garden Tomatillo Chutney like? Considering it hadn’t had time to mature, it was pretty tasty. The combination of whole spices lent the chutney a Geeta-esque exoticism and it had that lovely village-fete-preserves-tent homeliness. I don’t think we can wait 2 months! Wooh! Bring it on.

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6 thoughts on “Show me the way to tomatillo chutney

  • Kate Patten

    I made this chutney last year (only the third time I’ve made chutney) and it was great to eat straight away. After 3 months it was amazing, but after a year it was truly incredible! I totally recommend this recipe. It goes so well with curry, but equally good with cheese. A friend of mine is a chutney connoisseur and said it was one of the best she’d ever tasted. This year I will make it with green tomatoes as I can’t get my hands on tomatillos which I shall grow next year specially for this recipe. Thank you so much Ruth xx

    • Ruth

      Hello Kate,
      Delighted it was a success. I find that those long- forgotten preserved in the back of the cupboard are the tastiest! Thanks for your feedback! Xx Ruth

  • The Wildlife Gardener

    I burn lots of saucepans, so good tip, thanks Dave!

  • David Larkin

    My tomatoes got blight this year, even the ones in the green house (serve me right for being lazy and just spraying them with the hose rather than watering the soil with a watering can. So I have made loads of green tomato chutney.

    A tip, to clean the burnt layer of the base of the pan, add boil up some water with and egg cup full of washing powder for 10 to 15 minutes, empty and leave to dry then repeat. I had to do it 3 times but have a beautifully shiny pan without loads of scrubbing!

    It’s courgette time now, just made a nice courgette soup and a couple of courgette cakes

    Dave Larkin

  • The Wildlife Gardener

    It will be SO worth the wait in the run up to Christmas. Or in your case, Thanksgiving (earlier).

  • Well you know I love tomatillos…well I also love chutney! Boy though, 3 months is sooo long to wait. This is now on my list of things to do. I can’t wait.


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