Monday, December 6, 2010

Green Tomato Relish

I am quite impressed with my 3 scant tomato plants: over 60 pounds of tomatoes, i picked! And that's just the end of season harvest, i haven't added up the rest of the season.
I wanted to do some new things with the green tomatoes piled up on my counter, and Germaine of Munkebo farms had some delicious relish this past Saturday at our market that i just had to try.
Here's what i came up with:
  • 2ish quarts green tomatoes (i piled up in my 2.5 quart pyrex bowl)
  • 2ish cups sugar plus drizzle of agave nectar
  • 1/2 a honey crisp apple
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 tabasco peppers
  • 4 onions
  • 1 Tablespoon each allspice, turmeric
  • 2 Tablespoons dried mustard
  • Dashes celery seed, cinnamon and cloves
  • 3 cups vinegar - i used two distilled and one apple cider
The recipes i was working from called for more sugar, but i just couldn't bring myself to do 3 cups of sugar. Thus, the relish is rather tart. Isn't that better than too sweet? We'll see.

First you chop up all the veggies and set in a bowl with the salt for 10+ minutes. Drain well. I reserved the drained off liquid to sip on: it's quite delicious and i'm sure it's chock full of vitamins. In a pan, combine vinegar, spices, veggie mixture and sugar and bring to a boil. Turn off heat then bring up to a boil again. Hot fill hot jars and process about 10 minutes.

** Update: definitely try and save the liquid that is drained off of the veggies. It is absolutely DELICIOUS mixed with scrambled eggs! Garlicy, oniony, spicy, a little salty, green tomato juice. It's delicious to sip, and i bet would be amazing in any saute or soup, too.

I'm mildly concerned with my canning procedure - i've gotten so used to the joys of pressure canning: you don't need to overly clean and sterilize the jars as they get good and zapped in the high pressure. I water bath canned this relish, and didn't soapy water clean the first batch of half pint jars. I did boil them for about 5 minutes first, and then read it should be closer to ten.... the second batch got a good ten minutes in boiling water.
I also had conflicting processing times, that were stipulated for pints, so i went with the longest time to be sure they got good and processed. Though, that may degrade the quality of the food somewhat. We'll just have to see how they are received when jar-opening time comes. Let's cross our fingers against botoulism ;) 

Have you used questionable canning practices or are you always super sterile and by the book? How does one know if canned food is 'unfit to eat' anyway?

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