The following recipe has been kindly contributed by Vivien Lloyd, who is a renowned preserver, baker, author, and tutor.  She has appeared on various TV and radio shows and is regularly featured in the press.  She is the author of a number of books, including the excellent “First Preserves: Marmalades, Jams, and Chutneys,"; which is an authoritative guide featuring reliable recipes and explanations that are not found elsewhere.  Ideal for both novices and experienced preservers, itand available now from The Bottle Co., her website and Amazon.  To find out more about Vivien Lloyd, check out her website.

In this guide, Vivien talks us through her recipe for Tomato and Pepper Chutney

Originally from South America, tomatoes were first grown in the UK as ornamental climbers and cultivated for their decorative leaves and fruit. The Elizabethans thought the fruit was poisonous and the colour a sign of danger. By the 19th century,commercial cultivation of tomatoes became popular with the appearance of glasshouses in Kent and Essex. With thousands of varieties, well-known types include cherry and cocktail, plum and baby plum, beefsteak, and classic. The two most popular for use in cooking and preserving tomato chutney are classic and beefsteak.

I grow tomatoes to eat and preserve them for chutney, sauces, and chilli jam. In late summer, my small tomato greenhouse is full of plants with an abundant crop. For preserves, I grow “Ferline F1.”. Their ripened flavour and deep red colour are perfect for red tomato chutney and ripe tomato sauce.

What is a churney?

A real chutney needs time to make and time to mature. Gentle cooking of the ingredients softens the fruit and the vegetables and develops their flavour. When cooked, the consistency will be smooth, and the colour will be even and bright. Once matured, any vinegar flavour will have disappeared. Recipes with short cooking times, insufficient vinegar, or corn flour will produce different products.


As a judge, I have been pleased to see growing numbers of chutneys in competitions. I look for a chutney in a glass jar with a vinegar-resistant twist-top lid, and the jar is filled to within 5mm from the top. The majority of chutneys should have a rich colour, not be muddy. The consistency should be reasonably firm, and the texture should be fairly smooth. No large pieces of onion, fruit skins, cores, or stones. No excess liquid or air bubbles. As with all preserves, most marks are awarded for flavour, which is always a blend of all the ingredients. If the chutney is hot or spicy,write this on the label to warn the judge.

Tomato and Pepper Chutney

It makes about 2kg
1.4 kg red tomatoes
5 large red or orange peppers
3 red chillies, fresh or dried
450g cooking apples
450g onions
40g salt
50g mixed pickling spice
1.2 litres of distilled white malt vinegar
675g granulated cane sugar

1. Chop the tomatoes. Seed the peppers and chillies, remove all the white pith, and finely chop. Peel, core, and finely chop the apples. Peel and finely chop the onions. A food processor will blitz these ingredients quickly.

2. Put the tomatoes, peppers, chillies, apples, salt, and vinegar in a large un-lidded preserving pan. Tie up the spices in a piece of muslin and add this to the pan. Bring the pan to a boil, then turn it down to a gentle simmer. Cook until the contents of the pan are pulpy; stir occasionally.

3. Add the sugar and dissolve it carefully. Continue to cook gently until the contents of the pan are thick and no “free” liquid remains. Stir frequently to prevent the chutney from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, squeeze the liquid from the muslin bag back into the pan. Remove the muslin bag from the pan.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir and ladle the chutney into a glass or plastic jug. Pour the chutney into clean, warm jars, filling them to within 5mm from the top. As the chutney cools, it will shrink another 5mm. Seal the jars with new, vinegar-resistant twist-top lids. Leave the jars upright and undisturbed until cold. Store in a dry cupboard for two to three months before opening.