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Garden Tomato Relish

What a great way to use your garden harvest—and have a tasty relish on hand for hotdogs, hamburgers and other dishes. Why not share a jar with a friend or neighbor? —Kelly Martel, Tillsonburg, Onario
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1-1/2 hours + simmering Process: 20 min.
  • Makes
    10 pints


  • 10 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 large sweet onions, finely chopped
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 medium green peppers, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 4-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canning salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  • In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water to a boil. Add tomatoes, a few at a time; boil for 30 seconds. Drain and immediately place tomatoes in ice water. Drain and pat dry; peel and finely chop. Place in a stockpot. Add onions and peppers.
  • Place mustard and celery seed on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and tie with string to form a bag. Add spice bag and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 60-75 minutes or until slightly thickened. Discard spice bag.
  • Carefully ladle relish into hot 1-pint jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles; wipe rims and adjust lids. Process in boiling-water canner for 20 minutes.
Editor's Note
The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. For altitudes up to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes; 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes; 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes; 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.

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Average Rating:
  • Debbie
    Oct 20, 2019

    It turned out great ! Delicious ??

  • cillabilli
    Aug 1, 2016

    This recipe was made by my great grandmother, and I made it for years after my mother gave up the recipe. Great on baked beans and hamburgers--some years it was more runny and I blamed the tomatoes.

  • PatLagace
    Oct 29, 2015

    This makes an absolutely delicious red relish. My sister, who considers herself a red relish aficionado, says it's the best she's ever had. One of the reasons is probably because I used my abundant garden ripened tomatoes. I'll have to use store bought tomatoes one day to see how much of a difference it makes. I drained a lot of the juice and used it to make the best tomato juice for breakfast the next day. Win, win.

  • Jerro
    May 1, 2014

    The instructions omit squeezing juice and seeds into a strainer set over a bowl. Us the tomato juice for breakfast, and save the seeds for planting next year, just don't put the juice and seeds in the pot, just the drained, seeded tomatoes. I roast the peppers in a hot oven for a half hour, then cool so skinning is easier. You only have to cook for 20-25 minutes at a low simmer. Cooking much longer will result in tomato sauce. Prefer chunky pieces of tomato, onion and peppers. I also like half the peppers to be green bell peppers. If you don't remove the skin, it will be bitter.

  • justjanie
    Aug 9, 2013

    I don't know what happened...Mine did not even resemble the photo. Had to simmer forever to get it to reduce. I ended up with a dark brown BBQ sauce, I did go on & can it to use in baked beans & pulled pork but will probably toss it as no one seems impressed with it. What a waste of fresh tomatoes & a lot of work ! This is the first time I have EVER given such a crumby rating for a recipe!

  • carol cearley
    Aug 7, 2013

    No comment left

  • suelynnes
    Aug 3, 2013

    No comment left

  • Mayde2013
    Aug 2, 2013

    Makes baked beans sit up and take notice!!!!!

  • mas4144
    Jun 17, 2013

    To those of you who said the recipe was too runny. When I chopped my tomatoes I put them in a strainer to drain off the extra liquid. I only made half a recipe and I drained off one full cup of liquid with plenty of liquid left to make the relish.This method seems to have worked fine.

  • Nikipb
    Apr 15, 2013

    No comment left