Green Tomato Chutney, Trading Pictures, and Other Barter Agreements

A New Jersey couple who traded unharvested tomatoes for green tomato chutney and a California photographer who traded pictures for language instruction, furniture, and portfolio material are among the barter agreements highlighted in this ongoing feature.

| March/April 1979

  • 056 barter agreements - green tomato chutney - jamierogers1 - Fotolia.jpg
    Unripened tomatoes leftover from the fall harvest were the medium of exchange in a barter agreement that brought green tomato chutney to a New Jersey couple.

  • 056 barter agreements - green tomato chutney - jamierogers1 - Fotolia.jpg

Bill Wodraska shared some of his thoughts regarding one of mankind's better ideas—barter—and offered up an interesting suggestion: "I'd like to see a continuing feature on barter agreements and skill-and-labor exchanges," said Bill. "You're on!" MOTHER EARTH NEWS replied.  

Green Tomato Chutney

We grow delicious tomatoes in our little seven- by nine-foot garden all summer long. But, when the weather turned cold, we used to be stuck with bushels of green fruit that just wouldn't ripen. We'd have to turn 'em into the soil or maybe store a few wrapped in newspaper. Now—thanks to a new neighbor and a handy swap—we've got a use for those unripened "love apples"!

One day while we were clearing our small plot for the winter, the woman who lives upstairs commented that we'd probably be making chutney soon. When we told her we'd never heard of the stuff, she introduced us to a sample jar from her pantry: a delicious, bittersweet relish, the main ingredient of which was green tomatoes.

The next day she came down with a recipe book, and—in no time at all—spicy "tomato chutney" was cookin' on the stove. It turned out that our new neighbor had just arrived from England, where the condiment is a common side dish with many meals.

So in return for her recipe and her expert advice, we've given the lady a big bag of green tomatoes and some help in making her own batch of chutney. We all have enough of the sauce now to last until next season.

J. Robbins-Toth
Highland Park, NJ

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