The Road Home

The Road Home
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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Green Tomato and Pepper Relish

It's that time of year - the last harvest of the season. We had a possible frost coming so we finally picked the last of the above ground vegetables from the garden. We had a lot, and I mean a lot (for us), of green tomatoes and peppers - a whole dishpan full and heaping. So I started pondering what we could make that would add to our stores that we would enjoy. This is what I came up with. I hope we do enjoy it. If not, it will be another good learning experience that turned out tasting yucky.

The recipe we used calls for chunks of tomatoes and peppers in this Pickled Green Tomato-Pepper Mix, but we would rather have a relish, so we grated them up. I started off by cutting the tomatoes in half and taking the seeds out of the peppers. Then they had to wait a day or two in the refrigerator before I had time to get them canned. And this morning I had to get the rest of the sweet potatoes dug since we have a frost warning for tonight. More about the sweet potato harvest later.

 Out comes the KitchenAid for the grating. It works great. The only thing we had to watch for was the occasional chunk of tomato or pepper skin.
This recipe calls for:
7 lbs. green tomatoes (we had 13 1/2 lbs. so we adjusted the recipe accordingly)
12 cups peppers (we used a combination of Anaheim, Bell and Corno Di Toro Red Sweet Pepper)
2 cups onions
1 clove garlic for each jar
1 tbsp salt
8 cups white vinegar
2 cups water 
1 cup sugar (we used 2/3 cup)

First bring the vinegar, water and sugar to a boil. Then add:
1/4 cup pickling spices
2 tbsp. mustard seed
Many recipes call for tying up the spices in a piece of cheese cloth. I have discovered that putting them in a tea ball works great. 

Allow to boil gently for 10 minutes. Then add the tomato mixture and return to a boil for 10 more minutes.

I enjoyed being able to use some of the garlic we harvested back in the summer. This is from our first ever garlic harvest. We didn't get a lot, but we actually were able to grow and harvest some which I thought was just great.

We ended up with two batches. Here is the last batch after 15 minutes in the water bath canner.

I find it amazing that we put up another 13 pints of food from part of the last harvest of the garden. This is food we were not planning on or counting on. It is like a bonus treat straight from God. As I pondered this mound of food during the week, I knew it needed to be made into something we could eat and enjoy in the coming months. I just hope this did the trick.

I can't begin to tell you how much we have learned from our gardening and canning adventures this year. It has been a great time of determined, intensive learning. We know how important these skills are and have been grateful for the time we have been given to learn them in comfort. This is also still a time when failure at a crop or canning session is still an option. The day will soon come when it may not be. A failed crop or failed attempt at preserving food may one day be a matter of life and death. We are truly grateful for the opportunity we have been given to learn. Take advantage of every chance you get.

Until next time - Fern


  1. I make something similar, except that my recipe doesn't call for peppers. Your jars look so colorful, though! The recipe I use requires the chopped tomatoes and onions to sit overnight, in added salt, in a strainer/colander to release and drain the juices. Your method seems to have worked, so maybe I can tweak my recipe and leave out an extra step...I might try a test batch next year. I posted my recipe here if you're interested:

    We had some garden failures this year (our first year on our new land) and I thought the same thing: at least we have time to make up for the loss by purchasing the needed food. I also feel that the time is short, so it's important to use this time that the Lord has given us to be as prepared as we can.

  2. I am a California girl so this may seem like a dumb question but what do you do with these relishes and the squash relish you made earlier in the year? Do they go on top of something or are they eaten like a side dish? Are they heated? Thanks

    1. Thanks for the questions. Sometimes we mix the relish with salmon and mayo, kind of like tuna salad. Frank is not a big vinegar eater and sometimes he eats small portions of it. I like it with lunch. I eat some slices of our cheddar cheese, a boiled egg and a spoonful of relish with a slice of our homemade bread. Then for dessert I have some of our canned peaches or pears. It is a great way to preserve and eat some of our harvest in a different way.

      Some people have told me it is good with a bowl of beans. We have never tried it that way. You can also put it on a burger like you would dill relish.

      I hope this helps. And, by the way, there are no dumb questions when you are trying to learn. If there are, I ask them all the time!


  3. It looks delicious! I am determined to learn how to can. I hope I can get right on that over the holidays. I know my grandmother would be a great teacher. Great post! I really enjoy your blog.

    1. Best of luck on your canning. Get a good canning book, follow all of the safety precautions for your canner and you will be surprised at what you can do. We have been. It is great you have the opportunity to learn from your Grandmother. That is a choice blessing.


  4. Chow Chows and relishes are really good with roast meats...add a small amount to each bite of say roast beef and it is quite good. Spread over turkey slices in a turkey sandwich is also a great way to enjoy it. It helps moisten turkey. Salsa's are also very easy to can and enjoy all year.