or scroll for handy tips and a little nostalgia.
Tomato Relish is the perfect way to preserve your summer tomatoes and enjoy them over many months.
It’s delicious and versatile, pairing perfectly with so many things, from sandwiches and burgers to cheese plates and meat pies.
If you’re wondering how to make Tomato Relish at home, you’ve come to the right place.
This recipe is based on the CWA Tomato Relish Recipe I found in Nana Ling’s recipe collection and another old-fashioned country recipe I discovered in a community cookbook.
I’ve included step-by-step instructions to help you make perfect Tomato Relish – even if you’ve never before attempted to make a relish, chutney or jam.
An old fashioned Tomato Relish Recipe
As I mentioned, this recipe is based on two recipes from the past.
The recipes your mum, nana or great grandmother may have used.
The recipes you can trust and really can’t beat!
I’ve reduced the quantities so this recipe uses one kilo of tomatoes. This produces three small jars of relish.
You can, of course, easily multiply the quantities used in the recipe depending on how many kilos of tomatoes you have available.
Tomato Relish: the ingredients
To make up this recipe, you’ll need:
- tomatoes (ripe, any variety including cherry)
- brown onions
- caster sugar (or any white sugar)
- white vinegar
- curry powder
- mustard powder
- cayenne pepper
- plain flour (all purpose flour).
The precise quantities can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
You can, of course, multiply the quantities depending on how much relish you’d like to make.
Peeling the tomatoes
Just a heads up – the peeled tomatoes need to stand, along with the onions and salt, overnight. So plan ahead and don’t skip this standing period.
Whatever tomatoes you use, peel them first. This might sound tedious and tricky, especially if you’re using cherry tomatoes, but it’s not. So don’t be tempted to skip this step either as the relish really is more lovely without the tomato skin.
If you haven’t peeled tomatoes before, pack away the vegetable peeler as there’s an entirely different method that better suits tomatoes.
First, cover the tomatoes with boiling water and soak for 2 minutes. Drain off the liquid and wait until they are cool enough to touch.
Skins should now be split and you should be able to easily peel them off with your hands.
If they’re not split, apply a little pressure or scratch at the skin a little and it should peel off easily.
If using cherry tomatoes, they should just pop out of their skin by applying a little pressure at the base of the tomato – see the video in this post for a demo.
Next, allowing the tomatoes and onions to stand overnight
Next, chop the peeled tomatoes (or just halve if using cherry tomatoes) and chop the onion.
Put the chopped ingredients into a baking tray and sprinkle with the salt. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave overnight (at room temperature).
The next day: how to make Tomato Relish
When you’re ready to make your relish, drain the liquid from the chopped tomatoes and onion and place these in a saucepan along with the sugar and vinegar.
Heat over medium heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar.
Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam that forms on the top with a spoon.
Combine the curry powder, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, plain flour (all purpose flour) and additional vinegar in a small bowl to make a paste. Add to saucepan and stir well to combine.
Continue to simmer for about another 20 minutes, stirring from time to time to break up the tomatoes and make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the saucepan and burn.
The mixture should thicken to reach a jam-like consistency.
Pour into sterilised jars and allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Tomato Relish Recipe: FAQs
Q. How long does Tomato Relish last?
A. Your Tomato Relish should last for up to 6 months if stored in the fridge.
Q. How to use Tomato Relish?
A. Tomato Relish has so many uses. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
– use it on a sandwich (ham, cheese and tomato relish is my favourite)
– serve it alongside a meat pie
– add it to a homemade pizza
– slather it on your homemade hamburgers
– use it on nachos instead of salsa
– mix it into your filling when making homemade sausage rolls
– add it to a cheese platter
– have it with sausages and mash
– put it on a bacon and egg roll or add it as a side to your big breakfast.
Q. Does Tomato Relish thicken as it cools?
A. Your relish won’t thicken too much as it cools. It should already be a jam-like consistency when you take it off the heat.
Q. My tomato relish is too runny – help?
A. Just keep boiling it a little longer until it thickens. If it’s still too runny, add a little extra flour mixed to a paste with vinegar. Also, make sure you always allow the tomatoes and onions to stand overnight so that much of the liquid can be removed before cooking.
Q. How to thicken tomato relish?
A. Just keep boiling it a little longer until it thickens. If it’s still too runny, add a little extra flour mixed to a paste with vinegar
Q. Can you freeze tomato relish?
A. You sure can. Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 12 months.
Q. What else can I do with excess tomatoes?
A. Make up a batch of Nana Ling’s VERY popular tomato sauce. Or browse more tomato recipes here.
- 3 small jars (sterilised – you can use hottest cycle of dishwasher, if you have one, to sterilise)
- 1 kg tomatoes (ripe, any variety including cherry)
- 2 medium brown onions
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 1/2 cups caster sugar (325 grams) (or any white sugar)
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons plain flour (all purpose flour)
- 1/4 cup white vinegar (additional for combining powders into a paste)
- Peel tomatoes – Soak in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool a little. Skins should now be split and easily peel off. If not split, apply a little pressure or scratch at skin a little and it should peel off easily. If using cherry tomatoes, they should just pop out of their skin by applying a little pressure at the base of the tomato (see video).
- Chop tomatoes and onion and place in a tray. Sprinkle with the salt and cover with a clean tea towel. Leave out (at room temperature) overnight.
- The next day, drain off liquid and place tomatoes and onion in a saucepan along with the sugar and vinegar.
- Heat over medium heat, stirring, to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any foam that forms on the top with a spoon.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make a paste. Add to saucepan and stir well to combine.
- Continue to simmer for another 20 minutes (approx), stirring from time to time to break up the tomatoes and make sure the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan and burn. The mixture should thicken to reach a jam-like consistency.
- Pour into sterilised jars and allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Saturday 22nd of April 2023
I am 75 yrs old and started making tomato relish from an old C.W.A cook book , lost count of number of jars made and it’s went to folks in most states, only difference is that the vinegar is added first and the sugar is added later as the tomatoes etc soften better, but the taste is the same in both recipes, making yours again using your instruction on how to peel tomatoes.PS sending your version to son who begs for the recipe. Over the yrs like a lot of older folk , I forgot exact amts. So glad I found you. One recipe going to Sydney, the other to QLD, many thanks .
Saturday 22nd of April 2023
Hi Elaine. I'm so glad you found me too! Thanks so much for your lovely feedback. I hope everyone enjoys the relish. This recipe has had great feedback and I personally love it a lot. Perfect with bacon and eggs. Happy cooking! Libby
Monday 3rd of April 2023
i have lost my 2gz recipe book and i really want the tomato relish recipe from it
Tuesday 4th of April 2023
Hi Carol - sorry but I don't have that book. This recipe gets great reviews, though :)
Sunday 12th of February 2023
Made my 1st batch last week , got 6 jars (300ml) each and today opened the last one 😂, family loved it, today picked about 2 kg of tomatoes from my veggie patch and will make double batch tomorrow, thanks for sharing this easy recipe,10/10👍
Monday 13th of February 2023
Awesome! Love a 10/10 :) Even better made with home grown tomatoes. Enjoy!
Sunday 12th of February 2023
I made 3 jars (3 * 300ml) from 750g of home grown Roma tomatoes. I substituted the cayenne for 1 birds eye chilli, deseeded. The flavour is awesome, and the peeling and salt overnight removed an incredible amount of liquid!
Sunday 12th of February 2023
So tasty with homegrown tomatoes. Thanks for leaving your comment and rating, Craig. Enjoy the relish!
Wednesday 8th of February 2023
I made a batch of relish but used another recipe. It didn't state to drain off the liquid after the tomatoes, onion and salt sat overnight. So I now have 10 jars of very runny relish 🙄. Any suggestions on how to correct this. I was thinking just putting it back on the stove and re boiling until it thickens?? Or should I add another TBS of flower to some liquid and thicken it that way?