Appalachia Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

Green Tomato Relish

best green tomato relish recipe

Our recent spell of freezing temperatures forced me to pick all the tomatoes and peppers before they froze. While the peppers were ripe, the tomatoes…every last one was still green. Usually by this time of the year our tomatoes are long since gone, but this summer we tried something different with one bed and it kept right on producing through October.

In late spring I stumbled on a video of a farmer who lives way up north. So far north he has to grow his tomatoes in a greenhouse. Anyway, in the video he was detailing how he trims back the leaves of the tomato plants as the season progresses starting at the bottom. Sort of like you do okra. By the end of his season his tomato plants look like trees-tall and limbless until the very top. He wasn’t telling everyone this was the way to do it, but he said in his climate it worked for him and helped ensure his tomato harvest would continue for a longer duration than normal.

We didn’t trim the plants all through the summer like he did. I had actually forgotten about the video until I was cleaning out the bed of tomatoes. I thought well there is nothing to lose I’ll trim them all real good and see what happens. It worked. The tomatoes obviously didn’t have time to ripen again, but I picked a half bushel of pretty green ones the other night before the freeze.

I knew what I was going to do with most of the green tomatoes-I’ll tell you about that later this week, but a comment on my instagram post about picking the green tomatoes inspired me to make relish.

I flipped through all my Appalachian Cookbooks and didn’t really see anything that appealed to me. After looking through a few other books I finally found what I wanted in a cookbook titled Mennonite Community Cookbook. It was published in the 50s and it was gifted to me by my dear friend Gayle Larson.

The only thing I changed from the recipe was to water bath the jars for 10 minutes. If you’d like to print the recipe you should be able to right click on the photo and choose print.

green tomato relish in jar

The Deer Hunter and I couldn’t wait to try the relish. We both deemed it very good!


p.s. If you missed the hoopla-The Pressley Girls have their very first cd! Go here to get one!


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  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    October 30, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    The relish recipe sounds tasty. We gave up planting vegies at our house. We’re surrounded by farm fields, and often the farmers spray weed killer before they plow. If there’s the least little breeze which there often is at our house, then that weed killer gets on our plants and kills it. So we gave up.
    Prayers everyone has a great week, and a safe one too.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    October 30, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    Dang, that looks tasty!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    You can ripen green tomatoes by putting them in a paper bag with a couple of overripe bananas. The bananas, as they go bad, give off the same gas (ethylene) that produce vendors use to ripen tomatoes. You don’t want them in direct contact with the bananas because they might make your tomatoes rot.
    Sorry, I said tomatoes but I meant maters.

  • Reply
    October 30, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    That stuff looks good all canned up for the winter. I don’t guess I’ll have another garden. My back bothers me too much.
    When I went home yesterday, I found the ground white in places and the laurels were really white. I recon it snowed little round balls all day, cause my porch had about 3/8″ on it. By the time I came in today, it was almost gone. …Ken

  • Reply
    October 30, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Oh, I copied the recipe from you! Sounds delightful. Also green tomatoes will ripen if you put them in a sunny windowsill. We used to have to do that a lot where I grew up in Wyoming because the growing seasons are so short. The seasons are all confused this year for certain. We had the coldest wettest spring on record, and in less than a week it went to 90 degree plus weather… and it stayed that way all summer… this is Oregon, not the Mojave! LOL Then it started raining and we had 2 weeks of rain that was almost like winter. But now we are having wonderful fall weather, cool and mostly sunny and oh my, the trees are glorious this year. Seems like every 4-5 years we have a more spectacular than usual fall color display and this year it is definite the one! I’ve been taking lots of photos, hoping to be able to capture some of this beauty in some paintings this winter. We’ll see how that works out. It’s breezy today and sun is shining. The cats are curled up in front of the window and I’m off to finish a hat for my youngest granddaughter and then need to make balm and soap. Laundry is almost finished, last load in and everything hung. Such a good feeling. hmmm… I’m thinking pumpkin cookies sound good. Blessings on everyone! Theresa

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    October 30, 2017 at 10:07 am

    The recipe and the jars look sorta like chow-chow to me. I like sweet pepper relish myself but would be willing to try yours. Why don’t you send me the little jar in the middle? I’ll look some pintos and put them on to soak tonight. They ort to be getting real good by the time the relish gets here.
    Reckon I could buy me one them 3-D printers and print off the relish instead of just the recipe?

  • Reply
    October 30, 2017 at 9:14 am

    My friend used to make green tomato relish and ketchup. She claimed her kids liked the ketchup better than the traditional red store bought kind. I picked my last green tomato at least a month ago. If I had a half bushel, I think I would keep them green in the fridge and fry up a mess every day till they were gone.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    October 30, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I may need that idea soon. I debated about picking yesterday but took the risk. Almost reached freezing last night but not quite. The tomatoes I planted from low-growing branches are still producing a little. Peppers are really happy, as usual just before frost.
    I think maybe your green tomato relish would be a good substitute anytime tomitilla (?) sauce is called for.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    October 30, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Tipper–There’s a second benefit to removing the leaf stems as the summer progresses. Blight, mildew, and other diseases always show up first on the lowest part of the plant. As soon as I see any sign of yellow or brown on the leaves, I remove the stem holding them and burn them at a considerable distance from the garden. This prevents disease spread and also provides more air circulation. By early September the plants are just a long stem alongside a stake with a green “Afro” at the top, but as you have discovered they keep producing.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 30, 2017 at 7:40 am

    That recipe sounds good, Tip. I especially like the two cups of brown sugar. There is something really nice about the flavor of brown sugar. In all my bread recipes I’ve switched from white sugar to brown sugar. I like the subtle difference it makes in the taste of the fresh bread.

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