Even though the first frost is a couple of months away, near the end of October, and summer gardens are still producing pretty well, plenty of gardeners are looking ahead, toward the end of the summer growing season.
One of my gardening friends has begun to pass around his favorite recipe for Pickled Green Tomato Relish. It's a recipe that makes full use of all the small green tomatoes that make gardeners hesitate to pull out those old tomato plants. We all hate to waste any of our good, fresh food!
This is his favorite relish recipe, and he says it's good "on everything!" The instructions assume that the gardener is already pretty familiar with canning.
10 pounds small, hard, green tomatoes
4 red peppers
4 green peppers (can use all green, if red aren't available)
2 pounds onions
1/2 cup canning salt
1 qt. water
4 cups sugar
1 qt. vinegar (5%)
1/3 cup prepared mustard
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
Sterilize canning jars. Wash and coarsely grate or finely chop the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Dissolve salt in water and pour over the veggies in a large saucepot.
Heat to boiling and simmer 5 minutes. Drain veggies and return to saucepot. Add sugar, vinegar, mustard, and cornstarch. Stir to mix. Heat to boiling and simmer 5 minutes.
Fill hot pint jars with hot relish, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
The book this recipe came from was probably printed before the newer canning books came out (I only saw a copy of the page, not the actual book); I don't think I've ever processed any canned foods for as few as 5 minutes! For safety, I expect to process the jars for at least 10 minutes. Other gardeners, those more prudent than myself, may want to put the jars into a pressure-canner rather than just the boiling water bath.