A Gallon of Green Tomatoes
At the end of February, we cleared the fall plants from the garden, so we could put in the spring plants.
Last weekend, I was asked if I threw out the green tomatoes that were taken off all the spindly tomato vines before we pulled them up.
Holy cow, no! Green tomatoes, which are spectacular as fried green tomatoes, are equally as spectacular made into relish. Since there were several different kinds of tomatoes at varying stages of greenness, fried green really wasn’t an option. They were destined to be relish.
I am not a fan of cucumber relishes, and I haven’t been able to find green tomato relish made with mustard in any super market. It may be out there, but I haven’t found it. That’s okay, though, because 40 years ago, a friend gave me a recipe for a green tomato relish.
She called it ‘Mustard Relish’, and that is what we’ve always called it. Mustard Relish is made with green tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, onions, vinegar, salt, sugar and plain yellow mustard.
How To …..
To begin, wash all the veggies. I use a sanitized kitchen sink, because it is easy, and a disposal makes cleanup fast.
Once the veggies are washed, core the tomatoes and remove the stems and seeds of the peppers. Cut all veggies into large chunks so they can be ground up.
Kids Can Help
Years ago, when my sons were small, they had the best time grinding up the chunks of veggies in an old fashioned hand-crank grinder. I’d put them out in the backyard with the grinder and the veggies. One of them would turn the crank, and the other would stuff veggies in the top.
Both of them had a great time helping to make the relish… so much so, that my older son asked that I let his 9-year old do the grinding for the next batch of relish that I make. I will do it this spring.
New Electrical Work Savers
I no longer have help grinding the veggies, and my shoulders have not aged well. So, now I use the same process I use for coleslaw… fill a blender with water, add veggies loosely, hit the ‘grind’ button and drain the result in a colander.
Drain and Cook
Once the water is drained from the ground veggies, they are placed in a deep bowl lined with a piece of cheesecloth or other suitable cloth that will allow drainage.
Boiling water is poured over the veggies and allowed to sit for three minutes.
After the veggies have been scalded, the cloth is tied opposite corner to opposite corner and is hung to drain for several hours.
The easiest way for me to drain the relish is to tie the cloths across a sawhorse in the yard.
I squeeze out as much water as I can when I first hang the relish to drain. Once there is no more liquid leaking from the cloth, it is time to cook it.
From Cooking to Jars
The mixture from the draining cloth is put into a pan with the other ingredients, cooked for an hour and jarred.
The sealed jars are put into a hot water bath for 20 minutes.
When the jars come out, place them on the counter and let them cool.
Now, you may sit back and o-o-o-o and a-a-a-ah at the beautiful and tasty accomplishment.
For those of you who would like to make this incredible relish, my much loved and used recipe is below.