Green Tomato relish was an end of summer staple that was both highly anticipated and dreaded in my family. At the end of summer when tomatoes are on their last leg there is yet hope for the remaining green orbs trying to push a blush of color onto their cheeks in hopes of making it before frost sets in. As a child I remember this was the one time we had permission to pick to our hearts content the last of whatever remained on the tomato vines in our small family garden. The slightly red tomatoes would be placed on the shelf to ripen, and the remaining green tomatoes would be sent to my Great Grandmother. Ethel Gidney is now approaching her one hundred and second birthday and for years has not graced our family with her green tomato relish.
A few years ago she gave me her collection of recipes, most of which are barely legible, but in the back of my mind I always anticipated the day I would make that "weird green stuff." I have never seen green tomatoes at my local grocery market so I thought my relish recipe would have to wait for the day when I finally got my own family garden started. As fate would have it, yesterday I took a last minute trip to a local farm stand, and there they were in a tucked away corner; green tomatoes! I promptly thanked the girl working the stand for allowing me to rummage through her almost hidden stash, and filled up a bag with as many as I could. She asked me if I would be making fried green tomatoes, to which I replied "no, I am actually going to try making...Relish!"
makes about 7 cups (canned in 8 oz jars)
6 cups of ground green tomatoes (about 12 large ones)
2 cups of ground onion (1-2 large ones)
1 cup of ground green peppers (1 large one)
2 cups of white vinegar
3 cups of sugar*
1/8 cup of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon tumeric
Cut, seed, and coarsely chop the green tomatoes and place in a food processor or blender. Gently pulse tomatoes until they are finely minced (but not to the point of a puree) and place in a large bowl. Do the same for the onion and pepper and add them to the tomato. Bring water to a boil in either a tea kettle or saucepan and pour boiling water over the tomato, peppers, and onions completely covering them. Let the whole thing stand for about 5 minutes and then strain out the water. Place the mixture into a large saucepan or pot and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium to high heat and continue to boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. **Spoon hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2 inch headspace and place caps on. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. makes: seven - 8oz jars of relish
*Note: This is considered a sweet relish because of the addition of sugar. I normally do not include refined white sugar in my diet, but for this recipe I obviously had to kept it in for nostalgic reasons (and it is only a condiment after all - I hear veggie burgers calling)
**Disclaimer: The use of old recipes in canning practices is not recommended by the Ball company because they have not been tested and verified safe by food scientists. If this concerns you then skip the canning and just place your relish into a jar size of your liking and keep it in the refrigerator. Make a note of the date you made your relish and label the jar someway because I personally would not keep homemade relish for more then a year. So fill up a few small jars and share with friends and family.