Recipe: Tamarillo and Cranberry Chutney 

Put a New Zealand spin on cranberry sauce with this tangy tree tomato chutney.

Recipe and photos: Kristina Jensen

I think I could have invented what is a truly New Zealand version of cranberry sauce. This simple little chutney combines the tartness of the tamarillo with the unique flavours of orange and dried cranberries to produce a delightful condiment that can be eaten with almost anything. My husband has already devoured a jar already, despite me saying that it should have a couple of weeks in the cupboard to mellow out.

Now I say ‘New Zealand version’ because we have come to think, as a nation, of tamarillos as our own. They originally hail from Central and South America, but in 1967, a smart Kiwi bloke by the name of W Thompson coined the word ‘tamarillo’, supposedly combining the Maori word ‘tama’ with ‘amarillo’, which is the Spanish word for yellow. Tamarillos, or tree tomatoes, as they were initially known, have been grown in New Zealand since the 1800s. The first varieties were yellow and purple, and again, it was an ingenious Kiwi who developed the red kind. Cranberries are not from New Zealand either but have grown their way into our gardens and kitchens from boggy regions in the Northern Hemisphere.

Please note that the recipe has optional onions. If you want a chutney that is more like cranberry sauce, leave out the onion. If you like a condiment with the onion taste, throw it in.

I’ve also discovered a handy little tip for peeling tamarillos. They are shockers for peeling, especially when they are soft, so do yourself a favour: throw them in boiling water and you will all the more a happy person for it (see directions below).

More stories you might like:
Recipe: Thai Fish Pie

Tamarillo & Cranberry Chutney

Makes: approx. 7 x 300g jars


1 kg red tamarillos*
2 green apples, peeled and chopped into small chunks
the zest and juice of one large orange
1 cup dried cranberries
2 small onions, chopped in small pieces (optional)
1 cup white wine vinegar
1½ tsp salt
300g brown sugar
½ tsp cayenne pepper

* if omitting onions, add a couple more tamarillos in

tamarillo cheesecake

Easy-peel blanched tamarillo.

How to easy-peel tamarillos:
1. Make a small cut in the bottom end of each tamarillo.
2. Bring a pot of water to the boil and drop the tamarillos in it for 2 minutes.
3. Drain and place immediately in cold water. The skin will peel away easily.


Put the peeled, chopped tamarillos into a saucepan and add all the other ingredients.

Bring to the a simmer and cook, stirring often, for 30-40 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken. It starts to turn the most delightful claret colour as it gets closer to being done.

Pour carefully into hot, sterilised jars. Seal and label and see if you can sneak them away for a couple of weeks to let the flavours meld together.

This chutney is the perfect accompaniment to roast chicken and cold meats at Christmas time, all the more reason to squirrel some away for the festive season.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
Discuss This Article
Send this to a friend