I know, it’s strange having a tomato recipe on a site dedicated to meals that don’t involve tomatoes, but I’ve discovered this summer that problems largely arise with processed and red tomatoes, but fresh, under-ripe (green) fruits straight from the greenhouse pose no problems for me. Likewise a fellow sufferer has reported being fine with yellow-skinned tomatoes, but still reacts to the red version.
If you haven’t tried tomatoes since being diagnosed as benzoate intolerant, or if you used to react to them a long time ago and haven’t eaten them for ages, this recipe is NOT the first thing to try. You need to find someone who grows tomatoes at home, and then carefully taste a small slice of a raw, under-ripe, green one (it’s the ripening and red/orange colouring that sometimes introduces benzoates). If this is okay, try it again in a larger quantity, then perhaps a tomato which ripens to green or yellow – again, fresh from a grower. Only if you are safe with these and happy to eat them would I suggest tasting a supermarket tomato, and even then I’d still suggest avoiding red varieties.
Whatever your ‘safe’ tomato is, this recipe is a quick and simple preserve with all natural ingredients which should enable you to enjoy your fruits even after the season is over (especially if you’re like me and cannot tolerate supermarket fruit). It is adapted from an old Mrs Beeton’s recipe.
400g-600g safe tomatoes of your choice
75g sugar (may need a bit more if your tomatoes and apples are sour – taste both before cooking)
½ tsp salt
pinch paprika & pinch cayenne pepper, (OR if you react to chilli peppers, pinch black pepper & pinch ground ginger)
50g-70g chopped, freshly picked apple (OR if you react to apples, pear. The fresher the fruit, the less likely you’ll react to it)
50g-70g chopped onion
sufficient vinegar to cover (minimum 150ml). (Use white vinegar with coloured tomatoes or brown malt vinegar with green tomatoes)
(only if you’re using under-ripe, green tomatoes) – 2 tbsp water.
1 or 2 medium jars with vinegar-proof lids (i.e. lids with a plastic or rubber seal/coating)
- Using either a cool oven or a pan of boiling water, sterilise your jars and lids. Leave in a sterile place until necessary – and ensure you keep them hot so that the hot chutney doesn’t crack them.
- Chop apple and onion up finely. If tomatoes are quite large or if they are under-ripe or hard, chop them up too.
- Put all ingredients into a small pan, bring to the boil, and simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes or until everything is combined well and the onion (and tomatoes if they were under-ripe) are soft. If the tomatoes aren’t splitting and combining with everything else properly during simmering, or if the apple/pear is still quite solid, it is perfectly acceptable to use a potato masher in the chutney pan to mix and combine everything.
- Spoon the hot chutney into the hot, sterile jars, and seal immediately. Leave to cool completely and then cover seal with sticky tape to ensure it stays closed. This chutney should stay perfectly edible for a few weeks in a cupboard, but needs to be refrigerated if you aren’t sure of the seal on the jars, or if a jar is open.