Whilst sitting here on a Sunday afternoon listening to ‘The Kinks’,I think it puts things onto perspective on living the alternative lifestyle. It’s also strange that  a certain time of year can bring a flurry of activity. As we grow most of our food and all of a sudden you have a glut of produce, don’t have a freezer, so what are you to do with it all ? PRESERVE it !

Over the past few weeks I think that we have made a massive leap forward with our preserving and if we want to continue eating over the winter months then we have to preserve our food.

Last year we preserved our cherry tomatoes and they were very successful ( we actually opened one of our last jars yesterday and they were perfect for pizza topping) and so decided to preserve more this season, but as there were so many green toms this year ( due to a poor summer !) E found a recipe for ‘Green Tomato Chutney’ and when I walked into the kitchen (after working on ‘Bertie’ our VW campervan) all I could smell was a sweet and sour sauce. We’ve now decided to use all of our chutney as a sauce for chinese stir frys ( it tastes just the same!) and doesn’t have all of the chemicals used in commercial preserving.

And so now here are the 2 recipes to preserve a glut of cherry tomatoes. Enjoy.

First prick the cherry tomatoes with a cocktail stick and place a layer in a clean jar, sprinkle a little salt and sugar, some sliced garlic ( and a few basil leaves if desired). Layer some more tomatoes, salt etc until you have filled the jar and place the jar onto a cardboard lined baking tray, placing the jar lid on top of the jar but don’t screw the lid shut.

Place the jar(s) into a cool oven for about an hour ( our Stanley range ) or until liquid is bubbling out of the tomatoes. When the liquid has almost covered the tomatoes, remove the jars from the oven and immediately screw the lids closed and leave to cool. Store in a cool, dark place.


Makes 7-8 230 ml/8 fl oz jars

3  1/4 lb green tomatoes

1lb 2oz onions

1/2 tsp salt

3 1/2 oz  dried dates (we didn’t bother )

18 fl oz vinegar

10 1/2 oz sugar

1 tblsp mustard

1/2 tblsp curry powder

1/2 tblsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tblsp cumin

1/2 tblsp ground ginger


Wash tomatoes,peel the onoin and roughly chop both. Salt them and leave to stand overnight.

The next day, drain off the liquid, stone and finally chop the dates. Mix them with the vinegar, sugar and tomato and onoin mixture, and bring to the boil.

Simmer, without a lid for an hour, stirring occasionally. Add the mustard and spices after 45 mins. Boil over a high heat for 5 mins to thicken. Immediately fill the jars with the mixture, seal tightly and stand upside down for 5 mins. Store in a cool, dark place.

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rachel Creager Ireland
    Oct 28, 2012 @ 16:17:44

    Looks like a great recipe! Do you sterilize the jars? Everyone I know who preserves is particular about boiling the jars before and after packing, using only Mason jars, etc. But I have some recipes that are older, or traditional pickling recipes, in which sterility isn’t considered to be an issue.
    We just had a big freeze, so I might hunt around and see if anyone needs to get rid of some green tomatoes . . .


    • Willowarchway
      Oct 29, 2012 @ 14:04:18

      Hi, all of the jars are washed in very hot water before hand but when they come out of the oven they are so hot you can’t touch them and the liquid is bubbling and so this is in effect a form of sterilisation.Once you tighten the lid it seals it to become airtight, (you can actually hear them pop, sucking the air out) Also, the garlic that’s put in is an anti-bacterial so this also helps.


  2. islandthreads
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 09:11:53

    I really admire you for trying to be self-sufficent, I remember when a child (in the 50’s) my aunt preserving fruit, she boiled the jars I didn’t know you could do it in an oven too, my uncle worked as a market garden farmer in Kent so they always had lots of local fruit and veg, I only just started growing to eat but I am becoming more interested and will be trying more next year, Frances


  3. Willowarchway
    Oct 29, 2012 @ 14:08:29

    Thank you.The oven method is very successful we find. We find that preserving produce is the way and my Grandad and Grandma were preserving this way and Grandad is now 85.


  4. Bridget
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 19:06:53

    Great stuff guys! Fab recipes. I’m gonna try the one for preserving the Cherry Tomatoes.


  5. Bridget
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 09:48:26

    Reblogged this on arignagardener and commented:
    Love Love this post from Willowarchway on preserving, especially the recipe for doing the cherry toms.


  6. Joanna
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 13:10:44

    I’ve resisted canning, but this sounds so simple…will the oven method work with non-acidic produce like eggplant? What temp is a “cool oven”? I definitely need to make my own stir-fry sauce. Great post; found it through Bridget.


    • Willowarchway
      Nov 06, 2012 @ 16:01:40

      Hi, we’ve only just started to preserve our produce and have only tried toms in this way. We’re not sure about other veg yet but we are going to preserve some pumpkin today as this is a ‘watery’ type fruit and so will break down like tomatoes ( i hope). What is a ‘cool’ oven, good question. I would say Gas mark 2,150C,300F, but all i can say is if it’s too hot it will burn and too cold it will take forever. Just keep an eye on it. Good luck.


  7. greenbenchramblings
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 15:22:03

    Nice post. We have just made chutney using the same recipe. It is definitely a good one – very popular with friends and relatives we give some jars away to. In fact we are still using the last few jars from last year and it is still mighty good.
    Thanks for deciding to follow my blog, which i hope you enjoy.


  8. dayphoto
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 17:56:58

    Excellent! Preserve your own so you can provide yourself with new foods to taste and SAVE money all at once!

    That’s the way we live, also!



  9. Lucy Corrander
    Nov 16, 2012 @ 15:17:54

    An interesting extra use for chutney. There’s a limit to how many cheese sandwiches one can consume in a year.


  10. Promenade Claire
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 10:52:09

    I’m interested in the oven method of preserving the cherry toms, I’ll bookmark this page, thanks!


  11. Robbie
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 04:08:05

    I just read the book by Jo Robinson Eating on the Wild Side and she said the most healthy tomatoes are the cherry ones, and I have read about the purple ones which I am growing next year in my urban potager to see how they do etc..saving seed, too. I will bookmark your site and return to try and preserve the cherry tomatoes just like you-great recipe!:-) robbie


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