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This sweet and sour Green Tomato Relish is the perfect way to use up end-of-season, green garden tomatoes.

Green Tomato Relish

We’ve been enjoying a warm, mild Fall season here in New England. With such warm weather over the last month, our backyard garden tomato plants have still been producing fruit – although most of the tomatoes were still green.

But cooler temps – and the first major frost – finally hit us this week. So, before the impending frost killed the garden, my husband Jack gathered up all of the green and slightly-ripe tomatoes off the vine. Then, he challenged me to come up with some way to cook with them.


Green Tomato Relish

We’ve made some great green tomato recipes already – a classic fried green tomato recipe, a creamy and delicious green tomato soup with Black Forest ham, and even a green tomato salsa recipe we were given by a neighbor. (All great options!)

Green Tomato Relish

Then I found this Green Tomato Relish recipe, and I decided to give it a try. We had quite a few green tomatoes to use up (7 pounds!) and this recipe makes a big batch. But if you have fewer green tomatoes on hand, feel free to cut this recipe back to make a smaller quantity.


Green Tomato Relish

How do you make Green Tomato Relish?

It’s actually quite easy! You’ll finely chop green tomatoes, red and green peppers, as well as yellow and red onions in a food processor. Place in a large strainer, then sprinkle with canning salt – a pure salt that doesn’t include any of the anti-caking ingredients that are in table salt. (Affiliate Link: You can buy canning salt online, but -FYI – a box is only a couple of dollars at stores like Walmart.) Let the vegetables drain for a few hours and give up their liquid.

Green Tomato Relish

Then simmer the chopped vegetable mixture in a pickling liquid of apple cider vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard. Once the mixture cooks and thickens (after about 30 minutes) ladle it into canning jars and process in a water bath for about 15 minutes.

A few helpful tips and tricks when making this Green Tomato Relish

  • As mentioned above, this recipe makes a large batch (8 to 10 pints) so you’ll need a large stock pot for cooking the mixture. A 12-quart stock pot or dutch oven will work great.
  • We really recommend using a food processor to finely chop the vegetables for this relish. (I suppose you could chop by hand – but it will take you a long time!) Even using a larger, 14-cup food processor, it took us several batches to chop all of vegetables.
  • You’ll need a large strainer (even two!) to strain all of the vegetables of their liquid.  We have a strainer similar to this one and it worked perfectly.
  • Place the strainer over a taller bowl or pot, leaving enough space under the strainer so that the liquids will drain out below. Avoid having the bottom of strainer sit in the liquid – it will just slow the draining process.
  • Use a large spoon or even a smaller, mesh strainer with handle to press the vegetables down in the strainer – this will release the liquid more quickly.
  • The original recipe gave a yield of 8 pint jars – but we filled 10 pints of green tomato relish ourselves (our onions were very large) so have a few extra canning jars on hand, just in case the yield varies.
  • This recipe is very forgiving – so you can change up the quantities of onions, peppers and tomatoes a bit, based on what you have on hand.

Green Tomato Relish

How do I serve Green Tomato Relish?

This Green Tomato Relish has a nice sweet and sour kick to it – so the sky’s the limit. It’s great on hot dogs or hamburgers (of course). I added a spoonful as a topping to tossed salad. And, another idea is to add relish to your favorite meatloaf recipe for a nice savory kick of flavor.


Green Tomato Relish

You may enjoy these other green tomato recipes:

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Green Tomato Relish

Green Tomato Relish

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 pints
  • Category: condiment
  • Method: canning
  • Cuisine: American


7 pounds green tomatoes (we used a variety of green cherry/grape, beefsteak and Roma tomatoes – no need to peel or remove the seeds), cut into quarters (cherry tomatoes can be left whole)

4 large yellow onions, skin and root ends removed and cut into wedges

2 large red onions, skin and root ends removed and cut into wedges

3 large green bell peppers, stem, seeds and core removed and cut into wedges

2 large red bell peppers, stem, seeds and core removed and cut into wedges

4 teaspoons canning salt

5 cups apple cider vinegar

4 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons celery seed

4 teaspoons mustard seed


In a food processor, process tomatoes, onions, and peppers in batches until finely chopped. (We found it easier to get more uniform chopping if we didn’t mix the vegetables together in the food processor.)

Combine vegetables in a large bowl and stir in canning salt. Divide the vegetable mixture in two large strainers, and place the strainers over a deep bowl to drain – being careful to avoid having the bottom of the strainer sit in the drained liquid.

Let the vegetables sit for about 3 hours to drain. If you’d like, use the back of a large spoon or the back of a smaller mesh strainer with handle, press on the vegetables and encourage them the drain more quickly.

Discard liquid that the vegetables released during the draining process. Pour drained vegetables in a large 12-quart stockpot. Add in vinegar, sugar, celery seed and mustard seed, then stir to combine.

Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a moderate simmer and cook uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring frequently. The mixture should be thickened with most of the liquids simmered off.

While the relish mixture is simmering, prepare a boiling water bath canner. Heat pint jars in simmering water until ready to use. Wash lids and bands, as well as a ladle and funnel with warm, soapy water. Set aside until ready to use.

Once the relish mixture has simmered and thickened, carefully ladle the hot relish into the prepared pint jars, leaving a ½-inch head space. Remove air bubbles and wipe rims clean. Place lids on the jars; screw on bands until finger tight.

Place jars in water bath canner with simmering water, making sure that the top of the jars are covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Carefully remove jars and cool on a rack – checking to make sure that the jars are sealed once cool.

Keywords: green tomato relish

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Green Tomato Relish


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  • Terry Crumly wrote:

    Great recipe. I did add 3 jalapeños, 1 tsp of hot peppers flakes and I only used 2 cups of sugar.. Delicious!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Terry!

  • Joy Dowe wrote:

    OMG! This is the best relish recipe and to apprciate how much I love this relish, I have to tell you that my mom used to make green tomato relish and I absolutely hated it! So why would I make this, you ask? Well I have a glut of tomatoes this year and found myself with more than 20 pounds of green tomatoes at the end of the season. So I tried a few new recipes, including this one and I am so glad that I did! Fantastic stuff, I will definitely make it again next season.

  • natalie Ghekiere wrote:

    Great way to use up that bunch of green tomatoes. This is delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Natalie – glad you enjoyed the relish!

  • Annitta wrote:

    Can distilled white vinegar substitute for apple cider vinegar?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Annitta – Distilled white vinegar has a much sharper taste than apple cider vinegar. If you don’t mind that, then yes, it can work. Alternately, white wine vinegar would be another option to the apple cider vinegar.

  • Paula Shaw wrote:

    This is my first time canning. Once you out in the jars and sealed do you out in fruit cellar or fridge? When is it ready? How long will they last?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Paula – As long as the jars are properly sealed/canned, no need to refrigerate them. We keep ours in a cool dark basement for up to a year. You can eat the relish right away.

  • Anne wrote:

    I made this today; seeded the tomatoes, which took a while…very satisfied with the results; have saved the recipe for next year’s end of season tomato crop.

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed the relish Anne!

  • Anne wrote:

    I have family members that have problems with ingesting seeds. Will it change the results of the recipe if I remove seeds from the green tomatoes prior to chopping?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Anne – Not at all. Feel free to remove the seeds.

  • Colleen wrote:

    Really like this recipe. I did reduce the sugar a little; just personal preference. Just got done canning. Looking forward to using the relish in a lot of dishes and of course on a great hotdog.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Colleen! Glad you enjoyed it!

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