Once again, I have to thank my in-laws for the influx of home grown tomatoes used to make this recipe – thank you for the fresh goodness!!
As I stand there, the pungent smell of vinegar filling the house, clearing my sinuses, I am reminded that … it is another stinking-bloody-hot day in a long line of stinking-bloody-hot days & I am cooking a recipe that requires me, standing at the stinking-bloody-hot stove for hours, while dealing with two tired & grumpy, snotty-nosed babies at my feet!
Hmmmm … maybe not the best day for ‘relishing’, but the weather forecast says we’re in for more of the same for a while yet & the tomatoes are very ripe, so we do what we have to. With that … the kids & I break open the plastics cupboard, fill some bowls with water, throw in some cups & a funnel or two & suddenly the grump is gone, they are occupied & mum can get to work!
Now, just before I begin …
Disclaimer – I use the stick blender method of making relish – that means I do not peel or sieve the tomatoes. It is not the traditional way, but it works for anyone who may be time pressured or just plain lazy – both of which I can claim!
I have made this relish using the traditional method & it gives incredible results – it is, however, very messy & time consuming for what is already a long process from start to finish. That said, if you like your relish chunky – traditional is a more effective way to achieve that.
By using the blending method, the relish loses nothing in taste & has a wonderfully silky texture you & your family (especially fussy vegetable phobic 3 year olds) will love!
Ok, formalities complete! For those who have stayed with me, the recipe looks like this;
Silky Tomato Relish
Yields approx. 4.5 – 5 litres relish
5kg ripe tomatoes – I don’t discriminate, any type will do, including small varieties like grape or cherry
1.5kg brown onions
1 – 2 tbs sea salt
1kg white sugar
750ml – 1ltr brown or malt vinegar
3 heaped tbs plain flour
3 tbs curry powder
2 1/2 tbs mustard powder
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Prepare tomatoes – cut big ones in quarters, little ones in half or leave whole, & put them in a large stock pot.
- Sprinkle with salt & stir gently to combine.
- Add roughly chopped onions.
- Stir to combine, cover & leave for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight – (the salt will draw liquid out of the tomatoes)
- Drain off excess liquid into a large bowl & set aside.
- Add sugar to tomato mix & stir to combine.
- Add roughly chopped garlic.
- Cover with vinegar.
- Put on high heat & bring to the boil.
- Leave on medium-high heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Combine curry, mustard & ginger powders, with flour.
- Add enough of the drained off liquid to the powder mix to make a thick paste.
- Pour into stock pot & stir well to combine.
- Bring back to the boil, then reduce to low heat & simmer for about another 45 minutes, stirring regularly – keep a good eye on the relish at this point as it will thicken & reduce quite quickly & if boiled too hard or left without stirring too long it will stick to the bottom of the pot & burn.
- Once relish has reduced to your liking – it should be similar to, say pouring cream (only a bit lumpier!) – turn off the heat & allow it to cool for about 10 – 15 minutes.
- Using a stick blender, blend the relish until it is smooth & shiny – if you like more chunk, blend less.
- At the same time – sterilise your glassware & lids.
If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, (so jealous!!), to sterilise, wash the glassware & lids on the hottest wash setting you have. Use them while they are still very hot.
If however, you are like me & are sadly missing such a gadget, here’s how it goes;
- Preheat your oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
- Place glassware into oven, being careful to keep them separated slightly – the rungs on oven racks are great for this. Leave them in for around 15 minutes.
- Place the lids in a pot of boiling water on your stove top & let them bubble away while completing the bottling.
- Remove one jar at a time, using something heatproof to protect your hands – (I use a clean dry tea towel) – it will be red hot!
- Using a heat proof jug or ladle, pour the relish into the jar – if using narrow topped bottles, you will need a funnel for this – make sure it is heatproof. The relish will sizzle & bubble as it hits the hot glass – this is good.
- Fill your glassware almost to the top, leaving a small gap, maybe 1/2 cm – do not overfill as it will not seal well.
- As the bubbling subsides, gently tap the jar on the bench to remove air bubbles, then use tongs or similar to remove a lid from the boiling water & place gently on top on the jar. Do not tighten too much, just enough for the lid to be secured to the jar.
- Repeat with each jar until stock pot is empty.
Once cooled enough to touch the glass bare-handed, check that all the bottles or jars have sealed properly. The middle of the lid should feel tight & not spring back. If it does, the seal has not taken & will need to be done again – this will require resterilising & reheating of both bottle & relish.
Relish will keep in a cool dry place for up to 12 months. Once opened, refrigerate & use liberally!
Adapted from a family recipe given to me by the lovely Josephine Hands. Thanks to you & your mum for sharing! xx
Cook! Eat! Enjoy!
By the way – the water distraction lasted just long enough to complete the bottling before the kiddy grump kicked back in! PHEW to that & ARRRGH to the clean up!!