Those with vegetable gardens will appreciate this recipe at the end of tomato season. By early autumn in northern regions, when tomato plants have stopped ripening on the vines, it is a good idea to pick the tomatoes while they are still green before the frost comes and they begin to decay. I would suggest putting your green tomatoes into a cool, airy and frost-free spot like a pantry, cold storage or a shed. They will slowly ripen, and you will be able to eat those tomatoes for a few weeks after they’ve been picked. When it seems that you have an excess of green tomatoes you may consider turning them into a delicious homemade condiment.
Canning and food safety
This is an old family recipe that uses basic canning methods. There is a possibility that the jar lids may fail to make a tight vacuum seal. In that case, your preserves will be unsafe to eat. I strongly recommend that anyone who has never made preserves before do a little more research about the canning process. Please be aware that there are health risks if your preserves become contaminated due to improper canning procedures. Never take a chance in eating any preserves if the jar seal is not concave and tight or the relish has discolored over time.
For additional information and best practices about home canning, the mason jar makers at Bernardin offer plenty of advice. Another great resource is The National Center for Home Food Preservation. They offer canning guidelines and comprehensive answers to many FAQs.
Green Tomato Relish
- 11 lbs green tomatoes about 36 medium
- 2 green peppers
- 2 red bell peppers
- 6 yellow onions
- 2 cups vinegar
- 3 cups brown sugar
- 1 tbsp celery seed
- 5 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp green food coloring
- 1 whole Bay leaf
- ½ tsp Mustard seed
- ½ tsp Dill seed
- ½ tsp Allspice
- ½ tsp Pepper corns
- ½ tsp Chili peppers
Preparing and sterilizing jars
- Preheat oven to 250 F. Place mason jars (enough to hold about 2 quarts of relish) in oven for at least 30 minutes.
- Put, lids, screw tops and tongs in a pot of water and boil for at least 5 minutes.
Preparing the relish
- Roughly chop up the vegetables then grind them using a meat grinder or food processor.
- Pour mixture into a large pot and cook for 15 minutes
- Drain excess liquid using a sieve; return mixture to the pot
- Add remaining ingredients, including spice bag, and cook for 15 minutes longer
- Add a little green food coloring just before removing from heat to improve the appearance of the relish. Stir well.
- Immediately put relish into sterilized jars while mixture is still hot.
- Wipe jars and allow to cool at room temperature. Once cool, the lids will pop (downward) as they create a vacuum seal.