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Fruit & veg

How do you store tom chutney...

I've a couple of recipe's to try but after filling the jar there's no mention as to what to do next....

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I want to store more home grown produce and I'd rather not just freeze it or it go to waste so on that basis was going to try a couple of recipe's for green and red tomato chutney but after filling the jar there's no mention as to how to store it.  

I'm making it tomorrow and the toms are currently overnighting in seasalt. Is it stored in the fridge...a dark place...I presume where ever stored, chutney would need to be kept in a cool place and how long can it be stored for?

Some silly Q's now...what's pickling spice and can malt vinager be substitued for pickling vinager? I've all the ingredients for the recipe's apart from these two.

Thank you for your replies in advance... 


Pickling spice is a mixture of black peppercorns, mustard seeds, dried ginger, dried chillies, cloves, coriander seeds, allspice berries, mace blades etc.  You can buy it in jars or packets from most supermarkets.  Adding some to malt vinegar and heating will make pickling vinegar.  

I often use cider vinegar and add some pickling spices instead of malt vinegar as I prefer the flavour.

If you're making proper chutney, with sugar and vinegar and boiling it etc, and putting it into jars with sound lids (not metal lids) then you can keep it on your pantry shelves or in a cupboard.  It only needs to go into the fridge when you've opened and started to use a jar. I've had it keep for years - we've got several jars of last year's green tomato chutney left that won't go to waste 

Make sure you put the lids on and screw them shut while the chutney is still hot, then the cooling process will make a little vacuum inside the jar. 


Zoomer, No one's questions are ever silly, Are we all supposed to know everything?Nobody is an expert on anything, we are always learning, however much we know about a subject.  We can pass on our experiences or those of others, but everyone should look for other ideas, all of the the time, and that is why this forum is so good and so busy. ANYWAYS, When I make jams, sauces, pickles etc, if I only have metal lids, they go in the oven with the jars, then I use greaseproof paper(also warmed in oven with jars) on top of the jar and then screw the lid down. You need everything to be sterile, and preferably hot when sealing so as to cause the vacuum that Dove mentions.  some recipes state to put the produce in the jar when cool, but I have tried that and then opened them to find mould.  Everything should be as hot as poss and bottled quickly.

As far as choosing your vinegar and spices, this depends on your preferences. If you want a consistent flavour, then Sarsons(can get at Tesco, just ordered some) make a pickling vinegar which is 6% acid and already has the spices added.  They make a white Distilled and a malt version. If you want to keep the colour, eg pickling beetroot, red cabbage or onions, I would choose the distilled, for chutneys where colour is less important, the malt.  There is little difference in flavour.

You can vary the flavour of your produce by using different vinegars and spices, and your ingredients  You could use all green toms, or all red, or mix the two.  The spices that Dove mentions are quite traditional, and you can buy packets or mix your own, depending on taste. Always use the same measure and record what you did to get any kind of consistency if you like something.  I tend not to, and have regretted it, but this yr made the most amazing strawberry conserve (should have been jam but didn't set enough, so was a successful mistake) that everyone wanted more of.  Luckily, I DID write it down this yr, so may be able to do it again.  I made 12 1lb jars and a few little jars, and they had all been finished 1 wk later (given to people) with requests for more next yr.  The prob is reproducing that.  Will I get the same fruit? will it be picked at the same time? Will it have the same taste or will it, next yr, be ordinary strawberry jam? A mistake made the best produce I have ever 'produced'  My redcurrant jelly was the clearest ever, looked the best, but has not gone down so well. Sorry, going off the point while I brag about my conserve!

Whatever vinegar you choose MUST have an acid content of 5% or above, or it will not keep properly.  You can use wine, cider, malt or any other that you can find, as long as the acid content is at least 5%. IME very cheap vinegars can be weak in the acid content, and as not all will give this on the label, it is worth using ph paper to test it first.  If you can't get this at your chemist, you can buy it online.  All of these vinegars will give a different flavour to your produce, just as much as your choice of spices. When I make mint sauce, I use white wine vinegar as it has a mild, soft flavour that doesn't overpower the mint.  You can really taste the mint, whereas bought mint sauce uses malt or distilled malt vinegar, so you may as well just put vinegar on your lamb!  My youngest boy doesn't call it 'mint sauce', he asks for 'mum-made sauce'!

Chutneys often benefit from a malt, if you are mixing a few different veg, but experiment with vinegars and spices. The rules are only those of preservation, flavour comes from your imagination, so when you get a good un, I hope you will post it or pm me with it! 

I know I go on a bit, sorry, but if I can share what I've learned through my own mistakes, I can learn from others, too.  Incidentally, my Nanna made Damson jam some 30 or more yrs ago.  Mum died 2 yrs ago and i found a few jars still in her  cupboard.  I have opened one, and it is lovely, and perfectly preserved, like a fine wine.  Comes to something when even ice cubes have a best before date!  Can no-one exercise common sense or discertion, these days? BBD are the reason that so much food is wasted now. 30 y-o jam is fine, but Ice cannot be kept for more than a yr!  So use your own discretion in storing your produce. And put some in really nice jars for presents.Wouldn't mind a wee sample myself, and i'll send a bit of mine?



Gardenjeannie - what a brilliant reply 

Gardenjeannie this is just such good news ,if you Nanna can do it 30 years ago when everything was just so natural why are the supermarket suppliers messing about with additives and rubbish they use,ASK GRANNY thats all they need to do
Nice one G



I'm afraid that one of the reasons that supermarket jam and preserves won't keep like they used to is that the Health Lobby has encouraged the reduction in sugar and salt levels in foodstuffs, even those foodstuffs where the sugar or salt was the preservativie.

That's why all bought jams, preserves etc will tell you to keep them in the fridge 


Thank you Dove and Alan.  I treat best before dates as a guideline, not a rule. And don't get me started on additives! I'd love to be able to smoke my own bacon and hams, but that's one for another time. Anyway, that's Tesco just brought my viginar so away to pickle my beetroot! Do it for my elderly neighbour, we hate the stuff! Do we have a recipe thread on here does anyone know?


No we don't have a regular recipe thread here but occasional recipes do occur.  

There's always here which grew out of the old BBC Food forum.  There are regulars on there who smoke their own hams etc - everyone is very friendly and helpful 


Thanks Dove, Shall I start one? Anyone out there interested?  And if I start on another forum I'll never get anything done, but must just go and have a quick look The pickling and housework can wait a bit.  Raining too hard to pull my beetroot!


Hi, again, Tea.  Shall I pickle your neighbour you while I'm at it? Although that smell might not be so cosy....

Don't suppose you still have any of her old recipes, do you? I love old recipes.

 Dfa and gj.  Thanks for your replies. Didn't realise there was so much to know about vinegar. I have alot of the spice mix but bought some malt vinegar although there's some distilling vinegar in the cupboard left over from a beetroot glut.

Starting a book of recipe's sounds like a good idea, noting the ingredients wouldn't have thought to do that. There may have been a recipe thread at one time but if there aren't regular replies some threads drop off the postings. 

The jars are those with with a metal clasp and rubber seal.The recipe said to wash them in hot water then pop in oven for a few mins on 140C.

I'm happy to share some gj but only if it tastes good will let you know in a few weeks after it has matured They are granny's recipee's found on line and chosen on the basis, I had most of the ingredients but another poster has given me a tom jam recipe so I've saved some green toms to ripen and will make that one too, along with a freezer full of roasted toms that should take care of my tomato gult.   

I've only just got home after last min shopping for my gollies. I fly tomorrow and still need to pack a bag, the plan was to pack a bag whilst the chutney's simmering on the stove...It's going to be along night...  

I am still eating my chutney I made on sept 14th 2012. Its yummy. Have made some more this year . Just make sure you sterlise the jars in the oven and fill them with yor chutney whilst they are still warm. Cover with cling film and put the lids on when cool. Baby food jars are an ideal size  if you can get some.

Crazy Tomato Lady

I have loads of green toms, but no time right now. Can I freeze them and make chutney out of them in a couple of weeks or should I just leave them on the plant till then - temps are due to get down to 8 degrees so they will probably stop ripening? but will it harm the fruits?


I was wondering about freezing some first as I still have a few ripening. Want to have a go at ketchup.  Don't suppose it would matter if they're goung to get all mushed up anyway?  Anyone else know?

Zoomer, most malt vinegar is 5% so should be ok to use.

I have frozen tomatoes and some time later made chutney and it was fine, there seemed no difference. I cooked them from frozen but needed to cook chutney a little longer as the water content must have been higher. I would love a recipe thread.  


Sorry for not getting back sooner, I've been on holiday. .

gj. I've frozen toms and they are unbelievably mushy when defrosted.

Off to get some cheese and biscuits tomorrow to test the chutney made two weeks ago. I didn't have any labels though and there isn't any difference in colour between the jars, come to think about it, there wasn't much difference in the taste when bottled between green and red chutney, it did taste very sweet though   

Wish me luck  

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