Tuesday, September 20

What To Do With All Those Green Tomatoes? Try My Salsa-Like, No Sugar Green Tomato Relish Recipe!

Running out of time? Turn a dilemma into delicious!

Update: Many thanks to all of you who have taken the time to come back and tell me how much you enjoyed this recipe! Click here to read some of the many green tomato relish rave reviews. If you'd rather have your tomatoes red, check out How To Ripen Green Tomatoes Indoors the Really Easy Way on my kitchen garden blog.

The shorter days and cooler nights of September signify a slowing down for the kitchen gardener. It's a time for reflection: on successes and failures in the garden, on the quiet winter months ahead, and on the fact that all those green tomatoes still out on the vines are never going to turn red.

If you abhor the thought of letting any of your precious garden bounty go to waste, this frightful realization may bring on all sorts of irrational behavior. Frantically struggling to cover your tomato plants with enormous tarps in gusty winds and plummeting temperatures while praying to the garden gods for a late frost is not the way to deal with green tomatoes. Making green tomato relish is.

Tastewise, unripe green tomatoes bear little resemblance to their fully ripened counterparts. They are crunchy and slightly tart and completely lacking in that unmistakable tomato flavor. But when slowly simmered on the stove, green tomatoes come into their own.

Green tomato relish is traditionally a sweet concoction, often made with raisins, ginger, cloves, and lots of sugar. Unfortunately this tends to be the type of thing that people receive in jars as holiday gifts and eventually end up throwing out because they have no idea what to do with it.

The following relish, however, is not sweet at all; in fact, it does not contain any sugar. It resembles a thick salsa but is easier to make, as green tomatoes don't even need to be peeled. Nor do the apples; all you really do is chop everything up and toss it into a pot.

This recipe also takes full advantage of the late summer/early fall harvest; red peppers, onions, garlic, and apples are all called for. Adding the cilantro and jalapenos right at the end helps them retain their bright color.

Green cilantro and jalapenos coupled with red peppers gives the relish a festive color combination that lends itself perfectly to holiday gifts—that definitely won't get tossed into the compost bin.

Relishes are quite forgiving, so don't be afraid to adapt the recipe to what your end-of-the-season garden or farmers' market has to offer. Any type of tomato can be used, and you can mix and match varieties. Paste, or plum, tomatoes will require less cooking time since they're meatier and have less juice.

A touch of red on a few of the tomatoes is fine, as long as they're still very hard. Fully ripe tomatoes, though, will give your relish a completely different flavor and consistency.

Partially green sweet red peppers can also be used, and you can adjust the amount of jalapeno peppers to suit your taste, or leave them out entirely. Other fresh hot peppers can be substituted. Leave the seeds in if you desire more heat.

Green tomato relish makes a tangy alternative to traditional salsa in quesadillas and tacos, mixed into guacamole, or as a dip with tortilla chips. It can be eaten hot, cold, or at room temperature.

Stir it into refried beans or cooked rice for an instant fiesta side dish. For a spicy burrito filling, lightly brown some ground turkey or diced chicken in a skillet, add equal parts green tomato relish and water, and simmer until thickened.

Put green tomato relish on a Monterey Jack cheeseburger in place of ketchup and pickle, or use it to liven up grilled flank steak. Mix a little into diced home-fried potatoes, or even hash, just before serving.

Green tomato relish will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, or up to a year in the pantry if the jars are processed in a water-bath canner, which is a worthwhile and affordable investment. A Granite Ware canner and this really handy 6-piece canning set will only set you back about $35.

Canning adds very little prep time because you can set up your canning equipment during the hour the relish is simmering.

And as its zesty aroma fills the kitchen, you'll be secure in the knowledge that although the temperature has dropped and the wind is howling through the garden, both you and your green tomatoes are safe inside and ready for fall.

As always, I urge you to seek out locally grown and organic ingredients. If you don't have a garden full of green tomatoes, you may be able to beg some from a neighbor (many people simply let them go to waste) or ask your favorite vendor at the farmers' market to pick some especially for you.

I don't recommend using supermarket apple cider vinegar, which is often simply distilled white vinegar with caramel coloring. Instead, look for natural (preferably organic), unpasteurized and unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar with 5% acidity that contains the naturally occurring 'Mother' of vinegar. We love Bragg brand.

Organic raw apple cider vinegar is amazing stuff that is rich in enzymes and potassium and has been highly regarded throughout history because of its numerous internal and external health benefits.

We drink 1 to 2 Tablespoons diluted in water or unsweetened cranberry juice (with a little local raw honey added) every day (use a straw to protect the enamel on your teeth) and have also started giving it to our sheep (mixed 50/50 with garlic juice) as a natural wormer and overall wellness tonic.

Farmgirl Susan's No Sugar Green Tomato Relish
Makes about 3 pints
Recipe may be doubled; increase cooking time by 10 to 15 minutes

**Click here to print this recipe**

2 lb. green tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 lb. white or yellow onions, chopped
3/4 lb. sweet red peppers, cored and chopped
1/2 lb. tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith, cored and chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup 5% acidic organic raw apple cider vinegar (or less, see note below)*
1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt
4 jalapeno peppers, cored, seeded if desired, and finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)

Combine the tomatoes, onions, peppers, apples, garlic, vinegar, and salt in a large, nonreactive pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour.

Stir in the jalapenos, cilantro, and cumin and simmer for 5 more minutes. Carefully purée the mixture using a stick immersion blender (my KitchenAid hand blender is one of the best things I've bought for the kitchen) or in a traditional counter top blender, in batches if necessary, until still somewhat chunky. Don't over mix; you don't want it smooth.

If canning, return the puréed relish to a boil, then ladle the hot mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Process 15 minutes in a water-bath canner. Store in a cool, dark place.

10 calories, 0g fat, 60mg sodium, 0g fiber, per Tablespoon

* October 2009 Update: Since I originally posted this recipe four years ago, many of you written to let me know how much you love it (thank you!), but a couple of people have told me that their green tomato relish ended up tasting much too strongly of vinegar.

The 1 cup of apple cider vinegar called for is to ensure that this is safe for water-bath canning (green tomatoes are acidic, but the other vegetables lower the overall acidity—1 cup is plenty), but if you're planning to store yours in the fridge—where it will keep for several weeks without processing—and are concerned it might be too much vinegar for your taste, you can safely decrease the amount of apple cider vinegar to 1/2 cup, or even less.

If you want to give jars of green tomato relish as a gift without having to process them, just make sure the recipients put the jars directly into their refrigerator.

Can't live on relish alone? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

© FarmgirlFare.com, the not always vine-ripened foodie farm blog where Farmgirl Susan shares recipes, stories, and photos from her crazy country life on 240 remote Missouri acres.


  1. That sounds delicious. Down here where green tomatoes are not solely an end-of-the-season thing, we have numerous ways of cooking them. There's the obvious--breading and frying them--but there's also chutney (I make the one in the British volume of the Time-Life Foods of the World series), and then again there's my favorite approach of all, which is roasting them with sweet potatoes or winter squash. Mmmm.

  2. wow fg!
    good job :) looks sooo good!!!!!! like always :)

  3. Hi Shakthi,
    One can never have their standards too high when it comes to food!)

    Hi Jamie,
    I've never thought to roast green tomatoes, and I do love sweet potatoes. I bet that would be a very tasty (and colorful) combination. Thanks for the suggestion. : )

    Hi Clare,
    It is good, and so easy to make!

  4. "Frantically struggling to cover your tomato plants with enormous tarps in gusty winds and plummeting temperatures while praying to the garden gods for a late frost is not the way to deal with green tomatoes."

    So is this from personal experience? This was so funny, FG. I love the recipe also--cilantro and jalapeno are 2 of my favorite ingedients. Wish I had some green tomatoes to make this with. :(


  5. I've never even *thought* that much about the relish people put on their hotdogs. But now I have so much respect! :-) I've never considered using relish in mexican food...but I can see it working well.
    ...wish I could have a garden. I'm currently rooting one lonely basil shoot in water on my windowsill. Well, at least I have access to multiple farmer's markets!

    P.S. Any tips for growing basil or other herbs in containers would be appreciated. Mine always seem to turn out weak.

  6. Hi Amy,
    Oh yes, the tarp struggling thing was definitely from personal experience. (But now I know better--plus it leaves me with more tarps and sheets to cover the rest of the garden.)

    That's the great thing about writing from the farm--the truth is usually better than anything I could make up!

    If you can't get to a farmer's market, try asking at a natural foods store if they can order you some green tomatoes. And start peering over backyard fences in the neighborhood! : )

    Hi Cherrybegonia,
    Multiple farmer's markets? I'm envious.

    As for gardening in containers, it is definitely not as easy as growing plants in the ground, but it can certainly be done. I have had the best container garden ever this year, including lots of herbs. In fact, later today I plan to transplant several herb plants into larger pots.

    Good soil and fertilizer are of the utmost importance (plus timely watering of course--pots dry out very quickly in warm weather). Everything your plants get must come from the soil in that container or from you.

    I've had the best luck potting plants in a mixture of garden soil, compost, and packaged peat. I also stir in kelp granules and minerals like calcium sulfate and rock phosphate.

    I use sheep manure tea to fertilize. Sometimes I'll even "mulch" the top of the soil with manure, allowing the plant to receive a small amount each time it is watered. Obviously most people don't have sheep around. You can buy bags of manure at nurseries and garden centers, but I wouldn't recommend using it unless you happen to know it's organic. Lots and lots of toxins are excreted in manure (like--and I'm not kidding--arsenic).

    Rabbit manure is a wonderful thing, so if you know anybody with a pet rabbit, you might offer to clean out the hutch.

    Barring all that, compost is an excellent soil amendment. You can use the same "mulching" technique with it or you can make manure tea. Even people in apartments can make compost. Many places sell small indoor composters. Some come with worms to hasten the breakdown process and add their fabulous castings to the mix.

    Kelp is another excellent fertilizer. You can buy it in small quantities, or you can pay just a little bit more and order it in big bags or by the gallon from North American Kelp. I order 50-pound bags of kelp meal and use it for everything--in potting mix for starting seeds and container plants, in my raised garden beds, and as a supplement for every animal on the farm, including the cats and dogs. The sheep go crazy over it. The last time I ordered, it was $22 for a 50-pound bag. Unfortunately shipping doubles the price, but it's still a good deal. There is no minimum order. They also sell 25-pound pails, as well as different kinds of liquid kelp. Superior quality and all certified for organic use.

    All kinds of herb seeds and gardening supplies (including natural fertilizers and composting equipment) can be found at Pinetree Garden Seeds. I have been ordering from them for years and highly recommend them. Be sure to check out the bargain gardening books, too.

    Hope this helps. Happy gardening!

    Hi Dread Pirate Roberts,
    So nice to hear from you. Yeah, I've been known to do some crazy things in the name of gardening.

    Your pickled veggies sound delish--and so easy.

  7. Hello! I just stumbled across your site the other day and I really enjoy your photos. But I think I'll enjoy this recipe ever more! For those of us who have not yet explored the mysteries of canning, do you think this relish could also be frozen?


  8. Hi Alison,
    Welcome to the farm! So glad you found us. I have not actually frozen this relish, but I think it would be fine if you did. I have frozen tomatoes (peeled and seeded), sweet red peppers (simply cut into chunks), and just about everything else you can think of, including traditional tomato salsas. The texture might change a bit, and you'll probably have some water seep out from the veggies, so it might not be great to serve as a condiment. But cooking with it should be just fine. If you do make some and freeze it, I'd love to hear how it turns out.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to write. Hope this helps.

  9. Thanks for the great recipe Susan. The folks at my organic farm stand brought me a big bag of green tomatoes yesterday, so I made a batch of this relish (all organic too... yay!) last night and I'm going to can it tonight. We're going to pickle some green tomatoes too (I like Dread Pirate Robert's recipe).

    Anyway, take care!

  10. I'm really interested in the canning aspect of this recipe, but I'm concerned about the blend of high acid/ low acid ingredients. Since I don't wish to send "buckets O' botulism" to my family this Xmas, can you elaborate a bit on the acidity blend and therefor, canning safety of this recipe? Educate me! Thanks :)

  11. Hi Samantha,
    So glad you enjoyed the recipe. Nothing like replying to a year old comment, LOL, but I didn't want to just skip by you. : )

    Hi Anonymous,
    No worries about poisoning your family over the holidays (at least not with this relish)--the cup of apple cider vinegar I call for assures that the relish (which is really more like a salsa) will be acidic enough to safely preserve using the boiling-water canning method.

    And here's some back-up reassurance for you:

    1. In the Ball Blue Book Guide To Home Canning, Freezing & Dehydrating (which only contains recipes that have been thoroughly tested and follow the USDA safety guidelines for preserving food) there is a recipe for a salsa that calls for 10-1/2 pounds of tomatoes, onions, and peppers and just 1-1/4 cups of vinegar. My recipe calls for 4-1/4 pounds of veggies and 1 cup of vinegar.

    2. I originally created this recipe for an article in a national magazine, and it was met with approval by their test kitchen. (They also provided the nutritional info.)

    Hope this helps. I'm tickled that you're considering my recipe for something so special as Christmas gifts for your family. : )

  12. Thanks for the great recipe! I'm always looking for new ways to use up my green tomatoes.

  13. Yow-za!!! I am just after making your relish and i think i should have seeded the chilis that i grew and thought weren't that hot the last time I used them!!!! oops!

    I'm gonna make a double batch tomorrow to mix through it and hopefully tone it down a small bit!

  14. I made the green tomato relish combining your recipe with my standard salsa recipe, and it is wonderful. I had a lot of unripe italian tomatoes that were destined for the compost bin this fall until I read your recipe and was inspired to try it. Glad I did. Also, did some research, as I was wondering about the acidity too, and found out that green tomatoes are actually more acidic than red ones.
    I also love the summer in a bowl idea. It makes fantastic bruschetta.
    Great site!

  15. Susan, I just made your relish today in a huge triple batch (in parts, one after another) for all those poor green russian tomatoes that just didn't quite make it in my too-shady yard. Sometimes we get tomato sauce; this year we got green tomato relish. And it was fabulous. I canned 9 pint jars and had one for the fridge. We had it tonight on chicken burritos and it was FABULOUS. My whole house smells so good. Thanks for the recipe; now I'm not mourning the loss of the greens.

  16. Hi There,
    What a beuatiful site this is. I am just simmering a batch of this relish/salsa. I put the Jalapenos in from the start???Is this going to creat a hot batch or is will it be tame?
    Looking forward to supper tonight!!!

  17. Hi Everyone,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to write and let me know about your experiences making this relish. The feedback is great--and helpful! : )

    Hi Carla,
    You're quite welcome! : )

    Hi Anonymous,
    Oh my. I hope the next batch was tamer. I have noticed that hot peppers--even those grown in the garden--can really vary in heat from plant to plant (of the same variety) and also from year to year. I think it has a lot to do with the weather, rainfall, etc.--but don't quote me on that!

    Hi Sammyqc,
    I'm so glad you were inspired to try my recipe, too. I'd much rather see green tomatoes in the fridge or pantry than in the compost bin. : ) Thanks for the interesting tip about green tomatoes being more acidic than red ones. Ooh, and I love the idea of using Summer In A Bowl for bruschetta!

    Hi Bridgett,
    Wonderful news! I can't tell you how much I enjoy hearing about kitchen successes with my recipes--especially when they involve saving the harvest. Thanks for taking the time to write. And chicken burritos with green tomato relish sound absolutely delish!

    Hi Hollt,
    Okay, you don't want to add the jalapenos until the last 5 minutes of cooking. I would seed them because the seeds have a lot of heat. I would also start by maybe adding only one or two peppers to the pot of relish. Then taste it, and only add more jalapenos if you want it hotter.

    For a mild relish, simply leave out the jalapenos entirely. Hope this helps! : )

  18. Hi again, thank you for answering me so quickly.
    I love the relish very much . I have given it around to my family(we are big food people) I was just wondering what I can do if my relish is a bit too vinegar(y)??? My dad said add some sugar straight into the bottle. Does this sound good or crazy?

  19. Passing a tip along.
    a new thing on the market. miracle gro has organic potting soil and an organic fertilizer out this year.
    I am doing a container thing my self so I got the potting soil. I just planted stuff the last three days so to soon to tell but back in the day i was not doing organic, i always had good luck with this company so thought Id try it.
    NO I don't sell this stuff.

  20. I'm looking for a Sweet Green tomoato relish recipe that my Grandmother called "hushpuppy relish" of course the Green tomotoes but it also had jalapinos & fresh Garlic. I love if someone could find this for me. It's time to pickle before my relish is Pink tomatoes. HA HA
    Please help
    Thanks, Lisa

  21. I gave up canning due to lack of storage space years ago, but I do love to pack my freezer full of end-of-summer goodies. Do you think the relish would hold up in the freezer? I'll certainly enjoy it fresh anyway, but it would be nice to have some "in reserve." Thanks--- love the blog!

  22. Hi Lisa,
    I've never heard of hushpuppy relish, but my recipe does contain garlic and jalapenos, so maybe it's close.

    Hi Cen,
    I've never frozen green tomato relish, but I would say go ahead and do it. You could always try freezing just a little bit, then defrost it the next day and see what it's like.

    I've frozen various tomato salsas and they came out just fine, though I usually only add them to something while cooking, like taco meat. Not sure how they'd be for eating straight with chips or on tacos or whatever.

    If you do freeze some, I'd love to know how it turns out. : )

  23. Hey! Well, I just came across your site this morning and LOVE IT!
    I'm going to make our green tomato relish tomorrow -sounds good and different than the usual! I've aleady made loads of sweet cucumber relish and red salsa and tomato sauces (Italian and Mexican) and now have only the green tomatoes left to deal with - this will be a different take - love the apples added adn look forward to the rather tart, hot flavor....was so interested to read that someone else was wondering about freezing it also. I had wondered about freezing some of my cucumber sweet relish, as I have only a few jars left, but figured it would loose its crunch. I'm going to try freezing this relish, as it doesn't necessarily need to be "crunchy" and hope it works ok so I don't have to buy more jars! I think it will be ok as I have frozen salsa and the only slight problem appears to be a little loss of the cilantro flavor - which could, if you wanted, be added to when used.
    I'll be visiting your interesting site again!
    Ginger in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

  24. Just found your site, looking for something to do with my green tomatoes! Do you make goat cheese? Would love to learn how to make cheese.

  25. I have thousands of green pear tomatoes that got frozen last night. Is there anything I can do with them

  26. Hi dmill49,
    Oh boy. What a bummer. If the tomatoes are still frozen, or even partially frozen, I'd pop them into gallon-size zipper freezer bags and toss them in the freezer. If they aren't completely frozen, they won't stick together while they're freezing solid in the freezer, so there's no need to freeze them individually on baking sheets like you need to do for some berries. They should be fine for cooking into something like this relish, though you'll end up with a fair amount of skins.

    Or you could simply try turning them into some green tomato relish today! : )

  27. Hiya,
    I had one tomato planted this summer and it grew like nuts and I have four buckets of green tomatoes to deal with. I may have to buy a canning kit to get stored! I'm cooking the tomotoes right now, and should I keep the pot covered or not while it simmers?
    Thanks for the recipe!

  28. Hi LucySue,
    Wow, it sounds like you had one amazing tomato plant. That's great. As for your simmering tomatoes, let them cook with the lid off. Thanks for letting me know you're trying my recipe. I hope you'll let me know how you like it. Have fun in the kitchen! : )

  29. Well I'm eating the fruit of my labors yesterday, and it's pretty great. I'm surprised the jalapenos didn't make it crazy hot. I like it a little spicier so next time I'll add more. And it's surprisingly sweet--probably from the combo of apples, red peppers and onions. I forget that when you cook down onions they get quite sweet. It's super yummy. Tonight I'm going to grill some skirt steak and smother them with the relish. Yummy, thanks so much!

  30. I found this doing an search for green tomato relish, and was happy to find a recipe that did not call for sugar! I used a datil pepper instead of jalapeno (a local pepper that is quite hot) and various bell peppers because that is what I had, and vidalia onions, also because that is what I had. I was not convinced on the apples, but added them anyway thinking they would help thicken it up. After cooking a bit and giving it a twirl with the immersion blender, OMG! It is really great. Reminds me of tomatillo salsa. (I probably spelled that wrong).

    Great forgiving recipe. I wish I had made more.

  31. Oh...this is such a lovely recipe. My across-the-street neighbour planted tomatoes in my garden (!) and that of my neighbour, and I picked them all yesterday and made this relish. It is DIVINE! I doubled the batch and am thrilled with it.

  32. I got hit with the 'what to do with all the green tomatoes' myself. I managed enough red to make my freezer tomato soup, and my salsa, but then the weather turned.

    I have a huge bowl of green tomatoes sitting on my dining table awaiting....something. I had been going to make green tomato relish (picalilly), and may still, but this sounds good too.

  33. Thanks for this - and the comment suggestions, here in England I'm often left with a glut of green tomatoes and I'm always on the look out for different ways to make them interesting. It's good to have a plan ahead of time rather than just grumpily harvest without excitement.

  34. Just wanted everyone to know this recipe rocks! I left out the cumin for my kids to try this and it is wonderful!

  35. I'm heading down to the kitchen right now to make this again--2006 was a bumper crop of green tomatoes; 2007 had so many ripen I was sick of them by September. This year, it's greens again. But I'm looking forward to this cheering up my kitchen come winter.

  36. Thank you for this non-sweet recipe! So many relish and chow chow recipes are really preserves . . . I would like to modify this recipe with cabbage (I still have tons). Any suggestions?

  37. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks, as always, for taking the time to leave comments and offer your feedback. I really appreciate it - and I know other readers like hearing about your experiences with my recipes. I'm so glad so many of you have enjoyed this one! : )

    Hi Bridgett,
    Just yesterday I was thinking how it's the end of October and I am so not tired of fresh tomatoes yet. I have big plans for next year to rectify that situation - let's just hope the weather (and all the other factors involved in gardening) decide to cooperate! : )

    Hi Anon,
    I'm constantly amazed by how much sugar is in so many supposedly 'non sweet' recipes for relishes. I've seen a couple of recipes for tomato jam online lately and thought it sounded great until I realized just how loaded with sugar it was - yet the jam was being used like it was savory.

    As for adding cabbage to this recipe, I'm not sure exactly how you would go about doing it - though I think it sounds really good. I've been doing a little research, and the relish type recipes that include cabbage (and other vegetables) seem to call for quite a bit more vinegar. Of course they also call for sugar, so the extra vinegar might be more for flavor than safety when canning.

    Chow chow relish calls for cabbage and cauliflower and other veggies (including green tomatoes), and they have you salt them and let them sit a while before cooking. The versions I've found do include sugar, but you might be able to omit it. That's what I basically did when I started creating with this recipe - looked at a variety of other recipes for recipes then combined ingredients I wanted to use without adding any sugar at all.

    I found this chow chow relish recipe on Matt Bites, and it's nearly identical to the one in my Ball Blue Book canning and preserving guide, so I know the measurements are safe. Again, it calls for a fair amount of sugar.

    If you want to look for more recipes (for relish or anything else) two great recipe search engines I highly recommend are Food Blog Search and FoodieView.

    Of course if you don't plan to can your relish and are just going to store it in the fridge, you don't have to worry about acidity and can simply toss in as much cabbage as you like! But you'll probably want to salt the cabbage, let it sit, and then rinse it before using.

    I hope this helps. If you do make a cabbage version, I'd love to hear how it came out. : )

  38. I found a recipe that says the sugar can be REPLACED with Splenda and canned safely, so maybe sugar isn't needed (http://www.pickyourown.org/SouthernChowChow.htm) . . . I love how your recipe sounds so will cook it up and can it, and maybe experiment with cabbage as well. Thanks so much again.

  39. Hi Susan. I just wanted to join the chorus and thank you for this recipe. My parnter and I made a double batch from a huge load of green tomatoes we harvested before last weeks frost and it came out super delicious! We had it on Mexican pizzas Friday night. If you want to see pics and stuff, I put it on my blog. Thanks again!

  40. I just finished canning seven cute little jars of your green tomato relish: I saw this recipe earlier this year and it sounded so good that I was actually *happy* that not all of my tomatoes ripened. The first taste (while still hot- I couldn't wait!) was delicious, I think I'll be wishing for more green tomatoes next year.

  41. Food of the gods! I made a batch this weekend, some modification to match my harvest (fewer peppers, some carrots and green beans, a little apple cider, and some turmeric). My life is forever changed! Thank you.

  42. Thank you so much for this recipe! I have 26 pounds of green tomatoes (yup, just weighed them all for the recipe). You solved two problems for me - what to do with all those green tomatoes and what to give out for Christmas presents as my grapes didn't come in this year (no grape jelly). I made up a trial batch this weekend and everyone loved it (including myself), so looks like I have lots of chopping in my future! (And I think I will plant a few weeks earlier next year).

  43. How much water should you boil this in? i am thinking about making it in my crockpot, I just made green salsa with tomatillos so I was just gonna use the left over water, but I didn't know if that'd be too much/too little.. thanks!

  44. Yummy, yum, yum! My daughter and I made this recipe after searching through several others, as it looked and sounded the best, plus I loved reading about your farm. I have a junior farmer on my hands. This year, my 13 yr. old planted carrots, tomatoes, and even tried growing 2 apple trees from seeds! So far, she has quite the green thumb.
    Everyone who has tried this loves it. I think the apples are the secret ingredient. I only used 2 jalapenos, for fear of too much heat, but I let them cook in with everything else, so it was just right. I will definitely keep your recipe, now mine, handy for next year, and have marked your website under favorites, too. Many thanks and keep up the good work. It is worth it. Sincerely, Tammy ;)

  45. I made this last night and added a little bit more apple (prob 3/4 lbs) and not sure how many pounds of green tomatoes (5-6 heaping cups) and it turned out fantastic. The apples lent a little sweetness but not too much, and the finish is spicy but not rediculous. I think it will go great with a pork chop or a dollop on some chicken- thanks for the recipe!

  46. This was an amazing make - we made it with a bunch of green tomatoes that someone had given us. Really amazing - we used it for Nacho's mostly.

    Thanks - really really tasty!

  47. Wow -- this is one beloved recipe. I'm glad to bring the comments into another year.

    I had so many wonderful green tomatoes in the fall and was thrilled to find something yummy and easy to make with them. I finally (out of season) blogged about it here:

    Thanks! I really enjoy your blogs.

  48. I am looking for a OLD recipe tht my great grandmother made, unfortunately she has passed away and left no recipes, my Mother remembers the name only and that it was WONDERFUL in beans, she called it Last of the Garden, does anyone know about this recipe or have it? I live in Indiana and we
    are coming close to the end of our garden, but I would like to use
    what is left, waste not want not!!

    Any help would be greatly appreciated, I can be reached at

  49. THANK YOU for this recipe! My tomatoes were hit with late tomato blight, and I harvested buckets of green tomatoes this week before digging up the plants and disposing of them...sure that I would find something to do with them. An internet search turned up your recipe and it's delicious! It's helping to make up for the red salsa I'm not getting to make. I might pick all my tomatoes green from now on. I made two full batches today, adding an extra jalapeno or two to the second. Mmmm...

    I'm having to freeze mine since some of the vines were already dead and I don't want to deal with pressure canning today. Hope it works.

  50. Oh my gosh, what a godsend. this recipe looks awesome. we've had so many cool days up here in Central Iowa, that my tomatoes are simply refusing to turn. I've been looking for the solution!

  51. What a great recipe! And just in time since my not-gonna-ripen tomatoes are about to be pulled this weekend.

    Could you give me an idea of how much this would make for canning purposes?

  52. Hi Kelly,
    A single batch makes approximately 3 pints (6 cups). You can double the recipe and make 6 pints (12 cups), though you'll need to increase the cooking time by about 10 to 15 minutes. Enjoy!

  53. I'm always interested in looking for ways to use up the produce windfall (well, hopefully windfall). This sounds like a winner. But ... why do you specify only organic apple cider vinegar? With the same acidity it seems supermarket vinegar would work. It is just a taste issue or is it a safety issue? I've never tasted "real" organic apple cider vinegar, so I'm not sure of the difference.

  54. Yum!! My tomato plants are winding down so I picked the green tomatoes to make this relish. This is so good! Great recipe!

  55. Hi Adamarie,
    My apologies for the delay getting back to you. Safety-wise, apple cider vinegar from the supermarket should work fine for this recipe, but that's where the similarities between the two products end.

    Supermarket apple cider vinegar is often just distilled white vinegar with caramel coloring added. Organic raw apple cider vinegar, however, is amazing stuff that has been highly regarded throughout history because of all of its internal and external health benefits. We drink some every day and just started giving it to our sheep as a natural wormer.

    You can read more about organic raw apple cider vinegar here and here.

    Look for organic raw apple cider vinegar at natural foods stores, places like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, and even some supermarkets. I like Bragg brand, and if you can't find it locally it's available for a good price (and only 99 cents shipping) from amazon.com in gallon jugs here or in quart bottles here.

    Hi Jackie,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to let us know. : )

  56. I just tried this recipe so that I could use the 15 pounds of green tomatoes I have in my garden. The salsa is wonderful! I highly recommend this recipe, thank you for posting it!

  57. I have two boxes of green tomatoes that I picked last week before the temp dropped into the 20's and it snowed here in Denver. I made the green tomato salsa this past weekend and jarred some of it and gave some away. Everyone I gave it to has LOVED it. I will be making some more this coming week just to use the rest of my tomatoes. Thanks for sharing!

  58. Well I am definitely going to give this a go. Cider vinegar is one of my latest "discoveries" and I love the tang that it gives. Which makes it perfect for this summer's (what summer?) crop of English tomatoes, green to their very core!

  59. Hi Susan - Long, long, Looooong time no see. I lost my feeds when I left work without backing them up. :(

    Found you again looking for a green-tomato recipe. Any thoughts on using cherry tomatoes for this? I have a zillion.


  60. Hey Meadowlark,
    Welcome back to the farm! I've never made this relish with green cherry tomatoes. I'm thinking that the skin to 'meat' ratio might be too high, at least for some peoples' taste.

    You could always try making half a batch with cherry tomatoes and see how you like it. If you do, I hope you'll come back and let us know how it turned out.

    You can also pick all your green cherry tomatoes and let them ripen indoors. Just put them somewhere at least 55° F, and they'll eventually turn red (or yellow or orange, depending on the variety of course). They won't be as flavorful as vine-ripened tomatoes, but they're much better than nothing.

    Roasting them will bring out extra flavor. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a handful or two of fresh herbs if you have them, and roast at 400° for 20 to 30 minutes, or longer if desired. These taste great as a side dish or can be used in all sorts of ways.

  61. This recipe sounds great! I'm getting ready to do a batch. Is that 2 pounds of tomato before or after coring/seeding? Sorry if that's already been addresses.

  62. Hey Anonymous,
    Take 2 pounds of green tomatoes, then core and chop them. :)

  63. Thanks, worked out great. That's good stuff! Glad I made a double batch.

  64. Hello!

    I live in the St. Louis area and we had our first real frost early Friday morning. I made this relish/salsa with some green tomatoes and peppers that wouldn't last the night.

    It is delicious! I added the full amount of cumin and cilantro, as well as 9 small, seeded hot peppers for a double batch, and it turned out great. I even entered it in a salsa contest at work and I won! Thanks so much for sharing the great recipe.

    I posted my variation on my blog with links back to you. This is some really tasty stuff.

  65. If the vinegar taste is overpowering, could you substitute lemon juice for some of the acid?

    I'm about to make my first batch of this relish - and if there are as many tomatoes as I think there are outside, I may try a second batch and play with the recipe a little bit.

  66. Hi Libby,
    Your blog post is great! I love that you won the salsa contest at work. Thanks for taking the time to come back and tell us about your version. So glad you enjoyed it. :)

    Hi Laura,
    You could certainly use some lemon juice in this recipe. It's a great acidifier. When I can plain whole tomatoes, each jar gets 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice (or vinegar) in the bottom just as a precaution to ensure that the tomatoes are acidic enough - the acidity can vary from variety or harvest, etc.

  67. And here I go again, it seems every other year I get to make this. I'm looking forward to a winter of black bean chili and chicken enchiladas!

  68. I got a bunch of green tomatoes this year and this was the recipe I setteled on to try. It is sooooo gooood! It has been added to my black binder. I have so many ideas for applying this to foodds in my kitchen. I can't wait! Thanks for sharing. I hope you don't mind but I shared a link to the recipe on my blog http://dabblingsandwhimsey.blogspot.com/2010/11/life-is-better-with-condiments.html?spref=fb

  69. I love this recipe. I made mine a little spicy by including a can of ancho chiles in adobo sauce. If you do this, it adds a wonderfully smoky and spicy addition to the relish, and it quickly becomes a green tomato salsa that is great with chips, mixed with avocado, on top of enchiladas. We've eaten all winter long!

  70. Fantastic recipe - was the perfect thing to use on the trifecta of farmer's market specials, some CSA basket items and items in need of picking in the backyard garden. Thank you!

  71. Can I use a food processor on this stuff, or will it turn out icky? I don't have a regular blender. I only have the food processor and a Magic Bullet.

  72. Lori,
    The ancho chiles in adobo sound like a great addition. Thanks for letting us know! :)

    So glad you're enjoying it!

    If you don't have a counter top blender or an immersion hand blender, I think a food processor would probably work fine. I would try a little bit as a test first, and just pulse it a couple of times.

    I'm not familiar with a Magic Bullet - if it's a stick blender, I would use that.

  73. Hmm-can it be put into small plastic containers and frozen? Or would that totally ruin the texture? Sounds wonderful!
    Thanks! ~Wendy P.~

  74. Delicious. I made this recipe yesterday with minor variations. All ingredients except apples were from my garden. I used sweet red onions and didn't add cumin or cilantro. My vinegar was Bragg's organic. Thanks for another wonderful recipe for my summer canning file.

  75. I canned a double batch of this yesterday and it is FANTASTIC! Thanks for another winning recipe! :) I'm going to put a link to your recipe on my blog later this week!

  76. Hi Farmgirl, thank you so much for your site, and for this recipe in particular. In answer to Meadowlark's question from a year ago (lol) and others who might wonder...

    Yes, you can use green cherry tomatoes; its quite delicious!


  77. Just made the Green Tomato Relish today. Has a great taste! I did not think it was too "vinegary." This will definitely stay in my recipe file!

  78. Pulled my tomatoe plants today so I could plant so winter greens in pots....love picking spinach and lettuce until the weather gets really cold. I had more than anticipated and am looking forward to making this salsa tomorrow...receipe sounds delicious!

  79. So.......another year to this post!! Being such a dry summer, it was only late that everything started to mature. I now have "gazillions" of green tomatoes. Can't wait to try the recipe with my first gazillion, and I am not a canner, so I will try a freezer version. Any ideas for the other gazillion?

    1. Hooray for green tomato gluts! Now that it's finally cooling down, my tomato plants are (finally!) putting on lots of fruit - they won't set fruit if the temperature is above 92 degrees.

      I'm hoping to post my green tomato cake recipe soon, but in the meantime, you can always let your green tomatoes ripen indoors! :)

  80. Delicous! I just made half a batch--so easy, tasty and versatile. I might be having more fun experiments with my green tomatoes than the red ones!

  81. Can I use the very small green tomatoes that are not a mature size yet, both cherry types and others? Are the tiny ones ok to eat in dishes or salsas? I have lots & would like to use them if so. Thanks!

    1. Hi PaulaGen,
      Smaller, immature green tomatoes should work fine, but keep in mind that you'll end up with more skins, especially if you're using cherry tomatoes. I picked a whole bunch of green tomatoes the other night before a frost, and I took nearly all of the smaller ones too! :)

    2. P.S. I've got a second opinion for you. :) If you look a little ways back up in the comments, last October Jackie said:

      Yes, you can use green cherry tomatoes; its quite delicious!

  82. Hello! I'm really enjoying your blog. I'm making the recipe above and wonder if you could please give me an estimation of how long "several weeks" is so I don't have to can this. Thanks!

    1. Hi Julie,
      It should keep, unprocessed, in the refrigerator for at least three weeks, probably longer. I've just never had any that stayed around longer than that. :)

    2. can I store them in the freezer?. will it lose its flavor and texture

    3. Thanks Farmgirl Susan! My husband LOVES it and I prefer to not process it b/c I don't want the extra vinegar. Good question re: if it'll store in the freezer.

  83. hi Farmgirl Susan

    is it possible to use a different vinegar?
    i ordered the apple cider vinegar but it never arrived, and my toms are about to ripen, so i need to make it asap.
    i have brown malt and white pickling vinegar. which would be a good substitute, and should i alter the amount?

    1. I'm not sure about the white pickling vinegar (I don't know exactly what that is), but I don't think you want the flavor of malt vinegar in there. Can you find some regular old apple cider vinegar from the supermarket (as opposed to the raw organic kind)? That would work.

      You could also try plain white vinegar, but I wouldn't use a whole cup. If you're not planning on canning your relish (so you don't have to worry about the acidity), you could use as little as 1/4 cup and see how that tastes.

    2. thanks farmgirl
      the white pickling vinegar is "Distilled Malt Vinegar , Mixed Spice Extracts"

      to quote them
      "Home pickling is so much easier when you use Sarson's Pickling Vinegars. Vegetables have a high water content which dilutes ordinary vinegar, but Sarson's Pickling Vinegars are brewed to a special pickling strength so that your pickles will be better preserved. Sarson's is also already spiced using our own original recipe, so you do not need to boil the vinegar and spices together, just use it straight from the jar"

      i already have some of this, what do you think?

    3. I would taste it plain first and see how you like the flavor, especially since the vinegar already has added spices. If it tastes like something you think would go with the flavors of salsa, give it a try. I would still probably start by using less than 1 cup.

  84. I didn't make relish this year, but made Green Tomato Bread...has a strong spice smell, and very similar to Zucchini bread. Froze up two batches for later this winter.

  85. Yes! I just finished canning spicy green tomato pickles and got another batch of green tomatoes from a friend's garden, so was looking for a green salsa or relish recipe.

    Of course I knew just where to go...