Tomatoes everywhere

Tomatoes everywhere.  I don’t know about anybody else, but our tomato plants are having a final burst of activity before the winter sets in. This means a picking each day from our small garden of at least 4 kilos. I have bottled them, and made two different types of sauce, not to mention tomato chutney and tomato jam. This week therefore I decided to try another variation and came up with the recipe for what I have called Tomato Chilli Oil Pickle. It is actually very nice with cumin and turmeric adding a hint of Indian flavour – and has a touch of heat that does not overpower the flavour of the tomatoes.

In actual fact, I couldn’t be bothered doing a great deal of chopping, so just cut the tomatoes, chillies, garlic, ginger and onions into decent sized chunks, left it to cook for about 3 hours, and then blitzed the mixture with a stick blender. Hence I guess it is more accurately a sauce. If you prefer you can chop the fresh ingredients finely and it will result in a more chutney like texture.

If you make it, you will notice that it has a film of oil settle on top (or in some of my jars, on the bottom). This doesn’t always happen, must depend on the tomatoes, but if it does, there is no cause for concern. I use this, once the jar of pickle is finished, to sauté vegetables, meat or chicken. It is delicious if you dip chunks of crusty fresh bread into it too.

Tomato Chilli Oil Pickle

2kg ripe tomatoes

250 long red chillies

1 onion

2.5cm piece fresh green ginger, peeled

20 cloves garlic, peeled

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups olive oil (light is best)

1 ½ cups cider vinegar

4 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon mustard powder

3 teaspoons ground turmeric

1 tablespoon salt

Roughly chop the tomatoes, chillies, onion, ginger and garlic. Place in a large saucepan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 3 hours by which time a chutney-like consistency will have formed. Puree with a stick blender. Pour into warm sterilised jars and seal immediately.

8 thoughts on “Tomatoes everywhere

    • Sally Wise says:

      I know it does seem more than in a usual recipe, but this pickle is really delicious and not as hot as you might imagine. It’s essential that long red or green chillies are used, not the smaller birds eye or similar. You could cut back on them if you want to but flavour would be sacrificed accordingly to some extent. If you are worried about the heat factor, by all means cut back on the amount of chillies though and remove the seeds and membranes from them.




  1. Anna Maynard says:

    Hi Sally, I am wondering if you have a recipe for bottling tomatoes in the fowlers kit. I have always been worried about botulism with tomatoes because someone mentioned something once. Is there anything I need to add to the tomatoes or do to them to prevent this happening? Thanks for your help. Your books are my kitchen bibles!!


    • Sally Wise says:

      Hi Anna – yes, I preserve lots every year by the Fowlers method. I simply chop the tomatoes (not even very finely) and then cram then into the jars. I use the end of a wooden spoon to press them down even further. You don’t want any air spaces in there.

      I always add citric or tartaric acid to the tomatoes – a quarter of a teaspoon to each kg of tomatoes and sometimes, but not always, a pinch of salt.

      The prepared jars of tomatoes (i.e. with rings, lids and clips as per Fowlers method), should be brought slowly up to the boil (over 50 minutes or so) and then boiled for 20 minutes. For jars that contain more than 750g tomatoes, boil 25 minutes.

      Never add herbs, garlic, onions or other vegetables – ONLY tomatoes.

      Hope this helps Helen.

      Regards, Sally


  2. Sophie Bleach says:

    I see this is already answered above but I have heard RAVE reviews about this recipe and want to clarify that it’s not 250 individual chillies…..


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