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Garden Tomato Relish Recipe

Garden Tomato Relish Recipe

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. YIELD:160 servings


  • 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


  • 1. 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.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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. Yield: 10 pints.
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.

Nutritional Facts

2 tablespoons: 20 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 136mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.

Reviews for Garden Tomato Relish

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cillabilli User ID: 1024537 252079
Reviewed 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 User ID: 1307810 235861
Reviewed 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 User ID: 7785972 101701
Reviewed 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 User ID: 183110 145058
Reviewed 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!"

Mayde2013 User ID: 7357363 183349
Reviewed Aug. 2, 2013

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

mas4144 User ID: 6300876 145057
Reviewed 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."

azreal User ID: 5986831 166151
Reviewed Sep. 18, 2012

"not sure why but mine was way to runny..simmering with lid on didn't help. Should the tomatoes possibly have been seeded first?"

J3_Dog User ID: 6812792 106660
Reviewed Aug. 13, 2012

"@ [email protected]

We used to make a green relish also for hot dogs and Beans. It was Chow Chow. We made it with Green tomatoes, cabbage, cider vinegar,sugar, salt, and a few other items. I might be able to find the recipe, but you should be able to google it "Chow Chow" Hope that helps Jim"

Betsy Maier User ID: 3131707 101136
Reviewed Aug. 9, 2012

"This is a truly amazing sauce on burgers and dogs, loved by my family and friends. I do however simer it uncovered for 4-5 hours until it is nice and thick. The volume is reduced by about 1/2 by the end of the process. To add a bit of spice, I add a couple of jalepenos. My husband loves this version even better than the original."

shereebates User ID: 2993360 106656
Reviewed Aug. 5, 2012

"My friends and neighbors beg me for a jar of this relish when they know that I've made it. I added a bit of jalapeno to it to make it taste sweet AND sassy :D"

joan0076 User ID: 6068022 145056
Reviewed Sep. 8, 2011

"I'm not sure what happened, but I followed the recipe exactly and it was WAY too thin. I simmered it for 4 hours uncovered, then had to add 2 large cans of tomato paste to it to give it some body. Still nowhere close to a relish! I'm going to puree it and use it for BBQ sauce - it really tastes good as a sauce. Did the test kitchen use a special kind of tomato?? I put my trust in Taste of Home - don't know what happened!"

babeelizabeth User ID: 6177032 185015
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2011

"this is exactly my mothers recipe, we love it,mixed with mayo it makes wonderful dressing almost like thousand island, great on shrimp or lobster salad."

[email protected] User ID: 2025186 185013
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2011

"My aunts also made this and called it 'chili'. Their's was not watery like this recipe. I wondered if it might be my tomatoes. I have "The Aunts" cloth bound recipe book and will combine the recipes next time I make it. It brought back fond memories of my aunts and my childhood."

patricialobo User ID: 4999373 186793
Reviewed Aug. 11, 2011

"I boiled for 2 hrs with no apparent thickening. Toms too watery? color is different due to spices. How did you keep it so bright red? All jars sealed so I did not taste, can't rate tonight"

ccubed User ID: 1533534 186780
Reviewed Aug. 9, 2011

"I doubles this recipe since I have an abundance of tomatoes. It is outstanding. It reminds me of a chili sauce my Mother made when I was growing up. We used it on hot dogs so far, but, I plan to use it on chicken and fish. The only change I made was to cook it twice as long so that it became thicker"

bigmac46 User ID: 5344569 126135
Reviewed Aug. 2, 2011

"I would modify this by using some green tomatoes in it and grinding them to make it more relish like."

lcmccabe4 User ID: 1126328 211058
Reviewed Aug. 1, 2011

"Can you freeze this rather than doing the water bath thing?"

[email protected] User ID: 5445779 211057
Reviewed Sep. 20, 2010

"I did have to simmer this an additional 2 hours to reduce it to a relish consistency. I found the vinegar to be the predominant flavor, and will most likely use this as a base for a bbq sauce rather than use it as a relish. I would recommend reducing the recipe by half if you've not tried this before - it takes a lot of resources to get the finished product."

lillianlbrk User ID: 5279008 183348
Reviewed Jul. 13, 2010

"I love this recipe> It is similar to a relish my Hungarian mother made.

I made a few adjsutments and additions to this recipe>>> added small diced celery, used swet shallots finely choppedadjusted the sugar first since I am a diabetic"

sstewart29 User ID: 4165883 145055
Reviewed Dec. 17, 2009

"This is a wonderful recipe. We canned about 20 jars of it this summer using tomatoes we grew in our garden. It's delicious on chicken and pork chops as well as a dip for chips. Ours looks just like the photo with the recipe."

lbsfromNC User ID: 103121 101134
Reviewed Dec. 4, 2009

"This is definitly a 'keeper'. DD and I made it this past summer and liked it. Had some just yesterday on a hot dog. Yum! I think it is better now than when freshly made. We made 3 or 4 batches this past summer, will make more next year if we have the tomatoes."

[email protected] User ID: 822459 184973
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2009

"Wonderful on hot dogs,scrambles eggs, and on chips. I am making a second batch. BUT: illistration does not look like finished product, finished relish is much darker, probably because of spices. But so good."

newgrandma User ID: 1077052 183057
Reviewed Sep. 1, 2009

"I think the taste is really good but I am disappointed with the "thinness". I followed the recipe exactly and it has not thickened up."

sunnyt47165 User ID: 2926406 115476
Reviewed Aug. 26, 2009

"When I was little my grandma and grandpa use to make a green tomatoe relish ,we called it cha-cha. It was tangy with some mild green peppr taste. Does anyone have that rescpe? [email protected]"

zucchinilady User ID: 3149814 183346
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2009

"now I know what I will be doing with my extra tomatoes - sounds wonderful! Will be giving it as Christmas gifts! Thanks for sharing this great recipe!"

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