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Canning 101: Green Tomato Relish

Canning 101: Green Tomato Relish

Canning 101 for Beginners

I sew, I knit, I garden, I have even ground wheat to make homemade bread, but I confess I have never canned before, ever. So today was a major milestone for me. A friend at the farmer’s market today shared with me a super simple yummy recipe to use my plethera of green tomatoes. And she taught me some of the ins and outs of canning in a way that made it seem totally simple and completely doable for even a newbie like me.

My friend gave me the original recipe, but also told me they made their own changes to the recipe. So inspired I decided to also make my own tweaks. For example, the recipe called for more sugar than vinegar so I adjusted it to have equal parts vinegar and sugar. I also had to improvise with the celery seed since I only had celery salt in my pantry. And I chose to use all red peppers for their bright color and tasty sweetness. Here is my own tweaked recipe:canning green tomato relish

Green Tomato Relish


  • 4 to 5 large green tomatoes (my heirlooms are gigantic so I only needed to use 4) diced
  • 2 red bell peppers diced
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 tsp celery salt (recipe called for celery seed, but this was all I had)
  • 1 tbs mustard seed
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

1. Combine all ingredients in a non-aluminum stockpot (no idea why it needs to be non-aluminum, but I followed the rules on this one.) Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
(side note: the original recipe said to drain the veggies, but mine were not watery so I skipped this step)
2. Sterilize 8 jelly jars (8oz size)
3. Pack relish into sterilized jars. Wipe the tops of the jars and then screw on lids.
4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into water. Cover and boil for 30 minutes.
5. Remove jars and voila! You have canned! Be sure to test the lids to be sure they are sealed.
Here is what I found online about testing the seal:
Option 1: Press the middle of the lid with a finger or thumb. If the lid springs up when you release your finger, the lid is unsealed.
Option 2: Tap the lid with the bottom of a teaspoon. A clear ringing sound means a good seal. If it makes a dull sound, the lid is not sealed.
Option 3: Hold the jar at eye level and look across the lid. The lid should be concave (curved down slightly in the center).

Happy Gardening and Canning!

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