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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; cover and simmer for 60-70 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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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."

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."

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."

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!"

Reviewed Aug. 2, 2013

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

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."

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?"

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
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."

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"

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