Monday, September 3

Got Green Tomatoes? Try My Super Simple, No Sugar, Salsa-Like, Green Tomato Relish Recipe

Going green is good—even when it comes to tomatoes.

2012 Update: I'm hoping to still be picking ripe tomatoes in my kitchen garden for at least another month, but re-posting this shout out each September 3rd has become an annual Farmgirl Fare tradition. In the sales pitch below are reviews from fans of my super popular No Sugar, Salsa-Like Green Tomato Relish Recipe, which is a tasty, easy way to use up all those green tomatoes still out on the vine. Enjoy!

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. And if your ripe tomatoes are still plentiful, learn How To Make Homemade Pizza Sauce Using Fresh Tomatoes or How To Freeze Tomatoes the Really Easy Way (and Why I Don't Do Much Canning Anymore), which includes links to all my tomato growing posts.

When the first frost threatens in fall, I pick all the remaining green tomatoes in the garden that I can. Green tomatoes will eventually ripen when stored indoors at room temperature (don't put them in the refrigerator!), although the flavor won't be nearly as nice as vine ripened (learn more about ripening tomatoes indoors here). Of course any homegrown tomato eaten on Thanksgiving or Christmas tastes fantastic, but why not celebrate their greenness instead?

I created this no sugar green tomato relish recipe years ago for Kitchen Gardener magazine. It doesn't call for the usual raisins or spices and is really more like a thick salsa. It's easily adaptable to what you have on hand, and there's no blanching or peeling required—you just chop everything up and toss it into a pot. And since it'll keep for several weeks in the refrigerator, canning is optional.

But don't just take my word regarding this recipe. Here's what others have said about it over the years:

More below. . .
—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. 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.

—Well I'm eating the fruit of my labors yesterday, and it's pretty great. Tonight I'm going to grill some skirt steak and smother them with the relish. Yummy, thanks so much!

—I found this doing an search for green tomato relish, and was happy to find a recipe that did not call for sugar! I was not convinced on the apples, but added them anyway thinking they would help thicken it up. OMG! It is really great. Reminds me of tomatillo salsa.

—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.

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

—My partner and I made a double batch from a huge load of green tomatoes we harvested before last week's frost, and it came out super delicious! We had it on Mexican pizzas Friday night.

—I just wanted to let you know how much we have enjoyed this recipe! A few lucky friends were given a jar in their holiday gift baskets. The consensus is always the same: MAKE MORE!!

—Susan, I make your green tomato relish (I always call it salsa) every year now, ever since you originally posted the recipe... it's a regular fall tradition for me, and it's in my yearly canning routine. It's one of my all time favorites.

—Everyone who has tried this loves it. I think the apples are the secret ingredient.

—I think it will go great with a pork chop or a dollop on some chicken. Thanks for the recipe!

—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 so delicious, I think I'll be wishing for more green tomatoes next year.

—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.

—Wow. This is one beloved recipe.

And my favorite:
—I might pick all my tomatoes green from now on.

So don't despair—green just might turn out to be your best-liked color of tomato.

Are you lucky enough to have a ripe tomato glut? You'll find links to some of my favorite tomato recipes at the end of this post.

Still hungry? You'll find links to all my sweet and savory Less Fuss, More Flavor recipes in the Farmgirl Fare Recipe Index.

©, the you say green tomato, I say relish them foodie farm blog where one of the best things about blogging is learning that some of my favorite recipes have become yours. Thank you all so much for taking the time to leave comments and let me know.


  1. due to the very hot summer in portland, i'm having a glut of red ripe tomatoes. usually they don't ripen until october, and then i still have a ton of green ones.

  2. I love green tomatoes and I'm going to try this recipe. It sounds very good. Our tomatoes didn't blight but I couldn't keep the deer out. I even had a six ft. high fence.

  3. What a great recipe! Now, if only I had some green tomatoes..... ( all my tomato plants gave up in July, sorry to say, but I may just find a heap at the farmer's market.)

  4. I'm going to give my plants a little more time to ripen up, but I'll be back for this recipe come October when I'll need to yank the plants so I can put in the favas by the first full moon.

    The comment about it tasting like tomatillo salsa has me sold - THAT is awesome.

  5. I have never had a green tomato but I saw them today at our farmers market! Reading your post made me wish that I had gotten some.. definitely next time! Your blog is lovely by the way!

  6. Susan, I make your green tomato relish (I always call it salsa) every year now, ever since you originally posted the recipe... it's a regular fall tradition for me and it's in my yearly canning routine. It IS delicious. I can't thank you enough for sharing your recipe. It's one of my all time favorites. On the recipe card I have it labeled "Farmgirl's Green Tomato Salsa."

  7. I'm so excited! How can the simple act of making what we'd call chutney, be such a delight? Susan, I'm a complete novice and so after my first year of growing tomatoes, it's also my first year of harvesting and working out what to do with it all. Testament to your pages, yours was the first place I looked for inspiration regarding green tomatoes and in fact I came across the old recipe before you re-posted it. And now please share my delight in having crafted 5 jars of a sublime smelling gloop is only somewhat dimmed by the zoom on my camera not working so I can't (yet) post up a pick for y'all to admire!

    Will let you know if it tastes as good as it smells.

    BW. XX

    P.S. Nobody has mentioned the real fun part, where the brown/green sludge turns orangey/umber when you whizz with the blender - magic!

  8. I can't wait to try some of your recipes, and I love the pictures of the animals. Keep up the lovely work! Stop by and say hello at my new blog. I look forward to hearing from you. Jodi

  9. I'll have to try your green tomato relish next year as I've harvested and preserved all this year's crop - we had the first lightfrost of the year last week. I have an apple glut at the moment and thought you and your bloggers might like to try a tomato and apple chutney recipe - - lovely at Christmas time for a taste of autumn fruits.

  10. I just wanted to let you know how much we have enjoyed this recipe! Just before the killing frost came, we pulled the frost-sensitive vegetables & flooded the kitchen with the last of our season's bounty. A glut of green tomatoes were canned into delicious salsa/relish. A few lucky friends were given a jar in their holiday gift baskets. The consensus is always the same: MAKE MORE!! The children (all two of them will polish off a jar in a sitting). We all thank you:)

  11. We got our tomatoes in really late too. We did get some ripe ones.

    Then the Mississippi weather turned weird and it started raining every afternoon. Between the rain and the heat, they all got bottom rot.

    I'm bad, my green ones tend to end up as fried green tomatoes!

    Wish I had some Amish neighbors.....

  12. After reading about this recipe last year I finally got around to trying it. Darn, I missed a whole year of green tomato salsa/relish! I'll be making this every year from now on.


  13. I would love to try this, but don't have any red bell pepper. Do you think it would be okay with anaheim chile or does it need the sweetness of the red bell? Thanks!

    1. Last year I tripped over your recipe while looking for a green tomato relish recipe that did not contain added sugar as my husband has type II diabetes. I used a quart of green tomatoes & made the most amazingly delicious green tomato relish that I have ever eaten. I did not make enough to process and make shelf stable because I wanted to see how it turned out. Well what we kept for ourselves was gone in no time. I gave a jar to my son (to keep in the fridge) - it was gone inside three days. His whole family loved it. Needless to say, I will be making much more this year and processing them. MMMMMMM

  14. Hi Elizabeth,
    My apologies for the delay getting back to you.

    The nice thing about this recipe is that it's really flexible, so you can alter it to suit your tastes - and ingredient availability. I don't think the sweet red peppers are vital, though you'll probably want to use 3/4 lb of something else (more green tomatoes or onions or apples, or a combination) so the consistency comes out okay. I think anaheim chiles would probably make a nice substitute. Even green bell pepper could work, if you like that strong flavor.

    You don't want to use a large quantity of a hot chile (unless you really like things spicy), and you could always add a little more apple to sweeten things up.

    Like I said, it's open to interpretation! If you do make some, I hope you'll come back and let us know how it turned out. :)

  15. Has anyone tried freezing this? I'm wondering if that would work rather than going to the work of canning.

  16. Ive never had green tomato's before, but if they are less sweet then i need to try it. Richard

  17. I made this relish two summers ago when early summer was too cold to plant and I had 4 vines of unripe tomatoes by frost. I canned jars and jars of it and gave some of it away and we ate a ton of it. Dee-lish. We had another chilly June so the tomatoes are just now starting to ripen. I hope they make it, I got a recipe for zucchini salsa that I'd like to try but it needs ripe tomatoes. But if it doesn't work out, this recipe is on hot standby!

  18. I just made this because I had a TON of green tomatoes, and it's fantastic! Thanks for the recipe, and especially the no sugar part! I am wondering if this can be frozen?

    1. Hi S.,
      I'm so glad you like the green tomato relish! Thanks for taking the time to let us know. As for freezing it, I've never tried it but really need to because other people have asked.

      I've frozen other tomato salsas and sauces (both homemade and leftover store bought) in the past, and they usually freeze pretty well if they're already cooked (like this one is), but sometimes the texture changes a little.

      If you're going to cook with it - like to make taco meat, etc. - it really doesn't make a difference.

      My advice would be to simply try freezing a small amount, then defrost it and see what you think. If you do try freezing some, I hope you'll come back and report the results. :)

  19. This recipe sounds so good. You don't have to peel the apples or tomatoes?

  20. Green tomatoes are very popular in Colombia! We use them in salads all the time instead of red tomatoes.Your recipe sounds amazing!Love your blog...thank you for visiting mine!

  21. Hi Susan~~~I made a batch of green tomato relish/salsa today & it is fantastic! My husband loves it & I love the versatility of what I can make with it. Thank you for making a tradition! I'm so glad I found your blog~~~can't wait to get busy with more of your recipes!

    Linda in Arizona

  22. Hi Susan, A few weeks ago a friend gave me some green tomatoes as she knew my husband & I enjoy fried green tomatoes (crusted with parmesan), however she gave us about three pounds so I started looking for recipes. I recalled my mother making a green tomato ketchup that we all enjoyed as kids, but every recipe for any related products - ketchup, relish etc were loaded with sugar - a problem for us as my husband manages Type II diabetes. in cruising wround the web, I found your recipe and loved the idea of balancing the tart flavour with apple (I used Granny Smith).
    The batch I made yielded 4x500g jars. - We gave away 2 jars (after tasting and pronouncing AWESOME!!!). Works with any meat, cheese and eggs as a side condiment or as an ingredient - this is has now officially become a brand new "old family" tradition. So glad I found your recipe

  23. This relish is amazing in every way! Thanks for posting it! :)

  24. I made a double batch. Used 1.5 cups of vinegar and found it way to sour. Added 4 oz of agave, 3 tbls of mustard seeds, double the cilantro. Now it is perfect for me.
    Thanks for this base recipe.
    Vince T. Wyoming

  25. Hi Susan! I found this recipe a year or two ago and LOVE it! I have shared with my family and they love it as well! I would love to share this on my blog.

  26. First hard frost last night so I have 2 baskets of green tomatoes. Has anyone tried freezing the relish/salsa yet?

  27. Oh, wow! I stumbled across this recipe when I went looking for something to do with a green tomato that had been knocked off one of my plants, as I hate to waste home-grown produce. I came across this recipe and had all the ingredients, so I gave it a go - and oh my giddy aunt, what an amazing flavour! I quartered the recipe, picked another green tomato, and fell in love. My husband eats it on toast, and says it's the best relish he's had in years!
    I'm going to have to plant an extra tomato plant next year, just so we can pick them green and make tons more of this divine relish! Many thanks from Down Under!

  28. WOW!! This sounds wonderful. My husband and I created a grain AND sugar free house a year ago and I want to use green tomatoes this fall when the weather turns for chowchow, relish and jam with little or NO sugar. Can't wait to try this and will comment after I give it a try, Thanks.


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

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