This is a great all-purpose relish which works well on hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, etc. I particularly like it on ham sandwiches. Great way to use up those green tomatoes left at the end of the season when the first frost is on its way. I like to use a red jalapeno, but if green is all you can find it is OK to use that. If you cannot find canning or pickling salt, you can use kosher salt, but double the amount - for example, this recipe calls for 1/2 a cup of canning salt, so if you are using kosher salt you should use 1 cup of kosher salt. Preparation time includes the time needed to soak the vegetables overnight.
- 5 lbs green tomatoes
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 green bell pepper
- 2 large white onions
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 1⁄2 cup canning salt (non-iodized)
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 quart distilled white vinegar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 teaspoon whole allspice
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1⁄2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1⁄2 teaspoon peppercorn
- 1 bay leaf
- Wash tomatoes well and cut out the stem scar. Cut tomatoes into large pieces and set aside.
- Chop the bell peppers, onions, and jalapeno into large pieces.
- Place all the vegetables in a food processor, and process until the mixture has the consistency of a relish. Be careful not to over process - you don't want the mixture to turn into mush.
- Soak the vegetables: place the vegetables in a large stainless steel pot or plastic bowl and combine with the half cup of canning salt, mixing well so that the salt dissolves. Add enough water to cover the vegetables, and mix again. Cover the bowl, and let it sit on the counter overnight or for at least 8 hours.
- The next morning, line a counter with lots of paper towels - I usually use 5 layers. You are going to be placing the drained vegetables on these paper towels, so make sure you cover a fairly large space; at least 2 feet by 1 1/2 feet.
- Drain the tomato/onion/pepper mixture and rinse with cold water. Drain well, and then with your hands, which you have just washed in hot water with soap, squeeze the remaining moisture out of the vegetables. You will see that a lot of water still comes out. Place the drained and squeezed vegetables on the paper towels.
- Make a spice bag out of a quadruple layer of cheesecloth, and tie all the spices up in it.
- In a non-reactive pan (i.e., one not made of aluminum) large enough to comfortably hold all the vegetables, combine the vinegar and sugar. Add the spice bag and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for 5 minutes, then add the drained vegetable mixture.
- Bring the relish to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Remove the spice bag and ladle the relish into canning jars, leaving 1/2" headspace. Use a chopstick or other thin, non-metal utensil to run around the sides of the jar to make sure there are no air bubbles left in the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars with damp paper towels to remove any relish which got on the rims or the threads. Place the lids and the bands on the jars, just tightening the bands fingertip tight.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, then remove and let sit, undisturbed, for at least 12 hours before checking seals. It is important to let them sit undisturbed for 12 hours because the sealing compound on the lids is still cooling and hardening, completing the seal. While the jars cool, you will hear a "plink" type sound from each jar - this is the jars completing the vacuum seal as the final air escapes the jar. After 12 hours have passed, remove the bands and check the lids - press down in the center of the lid. If you cannot push the lid down any further, the jar is sealed. If the lid "gives" a bit, and you can push it down, the jar did not seal. You can either put the band back on the jar, and reprocess it for another 10 minutes, or you can just put it in the fridge and use it within 3 months.
- The relish should sit for at least a month before you use it, so the flavors can combine and improve.