What Have I started?

Today I turned juicy, vine-ripened tomatoes into relish.

Not an advertisement for Old El Paso (anything)

After getting back into the swing of ‘making my own’ with Rosella Jam back in April (and I’ve since made two more batches of jam – one must make haste while the sun shines, or while there are rosellas to purchase), I kept telling Dean that I would make some Tomato Relish when the price of tomatoes was more reasonable.

Low and behold, I discovered them on special, so I purchased a couple of kilos (4.65 pounds) and went to work.

Yes, this gave me grief

My recipe book continues to give me grief as I work through treasured cooking formulas, but this one was particularly troublesome and I struggled to make heads and tails of the list of ingredients.

Off to Google I went, in search of other relish blueprints in an attempt to ‘compare notes’.  This was almost as frustrating as my recipe book.  The biggest dilemma was what type of tomato relish recipe was I looking for.

With ‘About 16,500,000 results (0.37 seconds)’ I could easily have gotten lost.  Did I want hot relish, super spicy relish, or something akin to a tomato jam?  I kept looking, kept my focus on how I remembered the relish tasted last time I made it and ploughed ahead.

I finally found a recipe that had similar ingredients and corresponding steps to those I could read in my book.  At least this online recipe assured me the one ingredient I couldn’t read was 2 cups of vinegar.  But not many of the spices listed matched.

I was a little reluctant to follow my recipe – it called for six teaspoons of minced chilli.  That seemed excessive, but then again, so did six teaspoons of ground garlic.  Don’t get me started on how I felt about the two tablespoons each of mustard and curry powder, as well as the cayenne pepper.  (I see I couldn’t spell cayenne when I was younger 🙂 )

But I trusted the recipe my friend gave me almost 30 years ago, and dove right in.

The end result looks fabulous, smells amazing, and I can hardly wait to have some on my lunch today.

Those Old El Paso jars are perfect.

This relish is hot, and the volume is perfect for a few recipes I use ‘store-bought’ salsa in – like my Spicy Chicken Vol Au Vents.  I’m looking forward to using my own next time and hope the end result is on par, if not better.

– ⋅ o ♥ o ⋅ –

Clare’s Spicy Tomato Relish


2 kg ripe tomatoes
1 kg brown onions
2 tablespoons of salt
2 cups of brown vinegar
2 cups of raw sugar
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
6 teaspoons minced chilli
6 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons plain flour
extra vinegar

step one:
  Prepare the tomatoes and onions the day before.

Chop into chunky pieces and place tomatoes and onions in separate bowls.  Sprinkle each with a tablespoon of salt.  Allow to stand overnight, or at least 12 hours before proceeding.

step two:  Drain the liquid off both the tomatoes and the onions and place both in a large pot.  Add the vinegar and bring to the boil.  Keep on the boil for five minutes.

step three:  Add the sugar and return to the boil.

step four:  Using the extra vinegar, make a paste of all the other ingredients.  Add some liquid from the pot to make the consistency of cream and add to the pot.

step five:  Return the mixture to the boil and reduce to a simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally.

step six:  Place into sterile bottles and seal while still hot.


  • You can use any type of vinegar. I used red wine vinegar because it was what I had.
  • The tablespoon measurement is 20 ml, not the US standard 15ml.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, you could peel the tomatoes. I don’t bother.

As usual, you can download a printable version by clicking here, or by visiting my Recipes page.

Author: Clare

Ever-expanding one star at a time, my cosmos is a galaxy of thoughts and creativity where you can find poetry, short stories, photography and so much more.

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