In this blog I'm sharing my go-to recipe for canning tomato relish. This delicious old-fashioned relish recipe brings together inexpensive ingredients to create a delicious and versatile relish and is a great way to use up a glut of tomatoes.
If you've ever grown tomatoes you know how abundant your harvest can be, and there are only so many ways you can eat them fresh.
Preserving fresh tomatoes is a great way to use up excess supply and capture the flavour of summer in a bottle, to get you through the winter months.
Even if you don't grow your own, you can source tomatoes from your local farmers markets or grocery store inexpensively when they're in season.
I love having my pantry shelves lined with homemade preserves to enjoy at home, and give to friends and family.
When making high-acid foods such as relish, chutney and jam, you can use the water bath canning method to ensure a vacuum-tight seal on your jars and avoid food spoilage. For more information on water bath canning visit the Ball Mason Jars website.
In this blog I'll show you how to make tomato relish and preserve it using the water bath canning method.
Making tomato relish with cherry tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are my favourite tomatoes to grown and turn into relish. They grow so easily in my climate, and seem to be much hardier than prolific than other tomato varieties I grow.
Because I'm a busy mum I don't mind leaving the skins on my cherry tomatoes and simply chop them in half to make relish. If you prefer to skin tomatoes, you will find the skins come off fairly easily after freezing and defrosting, or blanching.
What to put tomato relish on?
This relish is delicious served with sandwiches, salads, burgers and savoury muffins and I also love to add a big dollop on top of a plate of nachos.
- tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes with the skin on, but you can use any variety, skin on or off)
- raw sugar
- mustard powder
- curry powder
- chilli flakes
See recipe card for quantities.
- common kitchen equipment such as a chopping board, knife, wooden spoon and measuring utensils
- large stock pot with a lid and rack, or a water bath canner
- large saucepan with lid
- canning jars - I like to use Ball Mason 8 oz preserving jars
- canning lids - I buy canning lids from Amazon.com.au
- wide mouth stainless steel funnel
- jar lifter
How to make tomato chutney for canning
Step one: Clean and sterilise the jars and lids
Check out my step-by-step guide to water bath canning to find out how.
Step two: Combine the ingredients
Place all of the ingredients into a large saucepan and stir well.
Place the saucepan on the stove, secure the lid and bring the mixture to the boil over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Once boiling, remove the lid and reduce the heat to medium-high, and boil for about one and one quarter hours or until the mixture has thickened. Make sure you continue stirring so the ingredients don't burn on the bottom of the pan.
You may need to reduce the heat as the mixture reduces, so that you don't have too much splatter over the side of the pan.
Step four: Prepare the water bath
Check out my step-by-step guide to water bath canning for instructions.
Once boiling, turn the heat off, but leave this water hot and covered and bring the water back to a simmer when your relish is almost finished cooking.
Step five: Fill the jars
When the relish has finished cooking, use a wide mouth funnel and ladle to carefully fill the jars leaving 1.2 cm (½ inch) head space.
Head space is the space between the level of the filling and the top of the jar.
Holding the jar carefully (it will be hot), gently tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles caught in the mixture, then wipe the rim and thread of the jar with paper towel to clean off any spills.
Once filled, seal immediately with the lids. If using a two-pice lid, first secure the lid and then the band.
The lids should be 'fingertip' tight. Don't over tighten them or this may interfere with the sealing process.
Step six: Process the jars in the waterbath
Process for 10 minutes. Check out my step-by-step guide to water bath canning for more information.
Step seven: Remove the jars
After processing, carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter and place them on a tea towel to cool. Leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours to ensure they seal correctly.
Step eight: Inspect the jars
After 24 hours inspect the lids to ensure the jars have sealed. There should be no flex when the centre for the lid is pressed. You can now retighten two piece lids if the bands are loose.
Storing homemade tomato relish
Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use within 3 months.
Store the properly sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to 12 months. Once opened, refrigerate and use within 3 months.
Grow or buy tomatoes when they're in season at the best price and freeze them until you're ready to make relish.
If you're short on time, purchase pre-chopped onion from the freezer isle of your grocery store.
- 2 kg (4 lb) tomatoes, chopped
- 650 g (1.4 lb) onions, chopped
- 625 ml (1.3 pints) brown vinegar
- 500 g (1 lb) raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 teaspoons mustard powder
- 3 teaspoons curry powder
- ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
- Wash and sterilise canning jars and lids.
- Place the ingredients into a large saucepan and mix well.
- Place the saucepan on the stove, secure the lid and bring the mixture to the boil over a medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- Once boiling, remove the lid, reduce the heat to medium and boil for about one and one quater hours or until the mixture has thickened. Continue stirring so the mixture doesn't burn on the bottom of the pan. You may need to reduce the heat as the mixture reduces, so that you don't have too much splatter over the side of the pan.
- When the relish has finished cooking, use a funnel and ladle to carefully fill the jars leaving 1.2 cm (½ inch) head space.
- Holding the jar carefully (it will be hot), gently tap the jar on the counter to release any air bubbles caught in the mixture, then wipe the rim and thread of the jar with paper towel to clean off any spills.
- Once filled, seal jars immediately with the lids. If using a two-pice lid, first secure the lid and then the band. The lids should be 'fingertip' tight. Don't over tighten them or this may interfere with the sealing process. Once all the jars are filled and sealed, process them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
- After boiling for 10 minutes, carefully remove the jars using a jar lifter and place them on a tea towel to cool. Leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours to ensure they seal correctly.
- After 24 hours inspect the lids to ensure the jars have sealed. There should be no flex when the centre for the lid is pressed. You can now retighten two piece lid bands if they are loose. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 205Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 0gSugar: 44gProtein: 0g
This information is approximate and should be used as a guide only.
Thanks for following along. If you love this recipe please give it five stars in the recipe card and leave me a review there. Your support means so much and helps me share my recipes with you for free.
Tomato relish is condiment traditionally made from a mixture of tomatoes, other vegetables, sugar, vinegar and spices. The vinegar and sugar in the relish, along with correct canning procedures, act as preserving agents.
Tomato relish is a high-acid food which makes it suitable for water bath canning.
Yes, you can.
This homemade relish should be refrigerated after opening, or if the jar fails to seal during the canning process.
Correctly canned relish does not need to be refrigerated and will last up to 12 months.
Relish is usually a chunky consistency and contains only one or two types of vegetables, whereas Chutney is usually a softer jam-like consistency with a mixture of fruits and vegetables.
Relish has a chunky texture and should be thick enough to mound on the spoon.
This tomato relish is sweet, tangy and mildly spiced.
Tomato relish is typically made from tomatoes, onions, vinegar, sugar, salt and spices such as curry, mustard and chilli.
You don't have to peel the tomatoes before you make tomato relish.
The final texture will be a little different and you can choose to peel or not to suit your preference.
Yes, I do!