The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Guest Spot: Steve Catchpole’s Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Chutney Recipe

cucumber, one of a glutThis is the launch of the brand new ** Guest Spot ** on the Cottage Smallholder Blog.

Lots of visitors email us. We love this and always respond. These emails have loads of great stories about others’ attempts at self-sufficieny. Some are hilarious. Others are full of new ideas. A few include recipes that sound really promising. We thought it would be good to include some of these contributions in our blog and invite a guest article from time to time.

Seve Catchpole, from Helmingham, Suffolk, has the singular honour of being the first Guest Spot contributor. He has been kind enough to allow the Cottage Smallholder to publish one of his all-time favourites.

Steve’s recipe below sounds so good that I was in our greenhouse early this morning checking the final cucumber harvest, as I want to try his recipe tomorrow. I was amazed to find a few good sized cucumbers and the promise of more.

Steve couldn’t find a recipe to use his glut of cucumbers so invented his own. He says that he tasted his chutney right away and it was good, although he notes that it might benefit from being put away for a few weeks. Almost all chutney matures to reach giddier heights.

Steve Catchpole’s Cucumber, Tomato and Onion Chutney Recipe


  • 6 large ridge cucumbers (the ones that grow outside) or 4 long cucumbers from the greenhouse
  • 6 medium onions (chopped, see method below)
  • 6 – 8 medium tomatoes (beefsteak or large plum tomatoes are ideal). These can be skinned or not as you prefer (how do I skin tomatoes? See tricks and tips below)
  • 1 – 2 inch piece of fresh root ginger (depending on taste). Peeled, bruised and diced fine
  • 12 – 16 ozs fair-trade Demerara sugar (or soft brown sugar)
  • 1-1 ½  pints of malt or cider vinegar
  • Spices ground in a pestle and mortar (or coffee grinder):
    1 tsp mustard seed
  • ½ -1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • ½-1 tsp mace (to taste)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp ground cloves (to taste)
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Salt (see method)

  • Jars and lids


  1. Wash cucumbers and cut into four lengthways. De-seed and then cut each quarter section in half lengthways and chop each of the eight lengths into 1/8 inch slices.
  2. Place the slices in a bowl in 1 inch deep layers and sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of salt on each layer. Set aside whilst –
  3. Slicing the onions. Use the traditional chef’s method. Slice off the tops and skin leaving the root intact. Cut in half from top to root and place the cut side down on the chopping board. Make 4 or 5 cuts from the top to a quarter inch from the root end (so that the onion holds together) and then slice across 4 or 5 times.
  4. Take the tomatos (skinned if you wish) and slice into 1/8 inch pieces.
  5. Put the salted cucumbers into a colander and rinse away the salt under cold running water, twice.
  6. Place all ingredients, except sugar, into a large saucepan or stock pot.
  7. Add vinegar to cover the vegetables.
  8. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes and then add the sugar. Stir well until the mixture reaches boiling point. Reduce the heat immediately and simmer, stirring often to prevent it burning on the bottom of the pan.
  9. The chutney should be ready after one and a half hours (give or take a half an hour either way).
  10. Whilst the chutney is turning into something wonderful deal with your jars. Wash and sterilise them (how do I sterilise jars and lids? See Tricks and Tips below). When the chutney is ready it has thickened.The wooden spoon should leave a definite mark on the surface as you draw it slowly across your brew. The main thing is to keep a beedy eye on it, with all that chopping it would be a shame if it spoilt. Remember, the juice will continue to be absorbed as it cools (tip from Steve).

Tricks and tips:

  • How do I skin tomatoes?
    Make a small cut on the side off each tomato (top to base) and place in a bowl. Pour boiling water over the tomatoes and leave for five minutes. Pour off the water. The skins should easily slip off the tomatoes. If they are holding on tight, repeat the process.
  • How do I sterilise the jars and lids?
    We collect jars all year round for our chutney making sessions. I try to soak off labels and store the clean jars and metal plastic coated screw-top lids in an accessible place. The sterilising method that we use is simple. Just before making the chutney, I quickly wash and rinse the jars and place them upside down in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 160c (140c for fan assisted). When the oven has reached the right temperature I turn off the heat. The jars will stay warm for quite a while. I only use plastic lined lids for preserves as the all-metal lids can go rusty. I boil these for two minutes in water to sterilise them. If I use Le Parfait jars, I do the same with the rubber rings.

  Leave a reply


  1. Cindy Zimmer

    If I use ready spiced vinegar instead of malt will it matter

  2. Clive Pritchard

    How can I print just the recipe. I don’t need the other 8 pages!

  3. How long will this last?

  4. mauramac

    Just starting to make this chutney but I have a query and if anyone is logged in that can help I would be so grateful for any quik reply.
    I could only buy whole allspice and black mustard seeds which I have tried to grind down in my pestle & mortar but they are not reduced to a powder and I doubt will ever be. Should I wrap them into a muslin square as I don’t want bits of kernal in my chutney (especially after reading the first comment posted) or do they cook down….I have my doubts about this as they seem very solid. All the other spices are powder form.
    Thanks for any help – my maslin pan and jars are on standby :-/

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Mauramac

      I’d put the allspice and mustard seeds in a piece of muslin as they won’t break down.

      • Marah D

        Whole mustard seeds are fine in chutney and visually pleasing to boot. I use ground allspice anyway as I can’t get whole.

  5. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Andrew

    Sorry I missed your comment. Yes I like sultanas in chutney too. Steve’s recipe is very forgiving!

    Hello Jean

    Hope that the chutney works for you!

  6. Hi John, I Have just Googled cucumber and tomatoe chutney as we have a glut of them growing in the backyard, will try your recipe with a few variations because I can’t be bothered going to the shops to get all the spices. see how we go and I’ll let you know. Jean (Aussie)

  7. I just made Steve’s chutney – couldn’t bear the thought of chutney without sultanas so added some and couldn’t be bothered to de-seed the cucumbers so didn’t – absolutely delicious the very next day!



  8. Good evening,

    I’m sorry I’m 3 years late, but I’ve just googled a chutney recipe for cu..etc. I want to make this as it really looks good, but what do all the squares mean? I think they mean a fraction like’one half’ but I’m not sure. Help!

    •1-1 ? pints of malt or cider vinegar
    •Spices ground in a pestle and mortar (or coffee grinder)
    1 tsp mustard seed
    ? -1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
    1 tsp allspice
    ?-1 tsp mace (to taste)
    ? – ? tsp ground cloves (to taste)
    ? tsp ground cinnamon



    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi John

      Thanks for alerting me to this. Sometimes when we change servers everything goes haywire: Have found steve’s email and here are the correct ingredients:
      1-1 ½ pints of malt or cider vinegar
      1 tsp mustard seed
      ½ -1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
      1 tsp allspice
      ½-1 tsp mace (to taste)
      ¼ – ½ tsp ground cloves (to taste)
      ½ tsp ground cinnamon

      Hope that it works out well for you!

  9. julie hix

    smells fantastic just made a batch and can’t wait to sample it

  10. tractorfactorsteve

    Well, it’s been made for long enough so I’ve sampled the first jar of cuc. etc. chutney.

    Tasted good but i must be the first person to need dental treatment from eating a spoonful of chutney. A tiny fragment of stone, just larger than a grain of sand had found its way into the mix and then onto molar, which is now a quarter of its original size.

    Each jar mow carries a safety warning.

    Next preserving project will be ‘Mango Leathers’, only clean, stone free ingredients…

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