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Tomato Relish

An old fashioned (and unbeatable) tomato relish recipe.
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tomato relish

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.

tomato relish

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 recipe

Tomato Relish: the ingredients

To make up this recipe, you’ll need:

  • tomatoes (ripe, any variety including cherry)
  • brown onions
  • salt
  • 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.

peeling tomatoes for relish
peeled tomatoes tomato relish

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 2

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.

tomato relish

Tomato Relish

An old fashioned (and unbeatable) tomato relish recipe.
4.87 from 30 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: tomato relish
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours
Servings: 3 small jars
Calories: 530kcal

Equipment

  • 3 small jars (sterilised – you can use hottest cycle of dishwasher, if you have one, to sterilise)

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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).
    peeling tomatoes for relish
  • 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.
    tomatoes and onion in tray with salt
  • The next day, drain off liquid and place tomatoes and onion in a saucepan along with the sugar and vinegar.
    cooking tomato relish
  • 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.
    boiling tomatoes for relish
  • Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl to make a paste. Add to saucepan and stir well to combine.
    adding spice mixture to tomato relish
  • 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.
    cooked tomato relish
  • Pour into sterilised jars and allow to cool. Store in the fridge for up to 6 months.
    tomato relish jars

Video

Notes

This recipe is based on 1kg of tomatoes and produces three small jars of relish. Multiply or divide these quantities as suits.
Sterilise jars (on the hottest cycle of a dishwasher is fine if you have a dishwasher).
You can you any type of fresh tomatoes, but fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes are packed with flavour and will produce a superior relish.
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. See the post and video for details on the easy way to peel tomatoes.
Finally, 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.
The relish will last up to 6 months in the fridge and up to 12 months in the freezer.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 125g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 4676mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 112g | Vitamin A: 2795IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg
Recipe Rating




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Judy

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Can I process the filled jars in hot water bath for longevity

Libby Hakim

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Hi Judy. You certainly can. I have been adding a note about this to the latest preserve recipes (without providing directions/timing as this is not my specialty and it's so hard to provide precise guidance as to how long something will last) and will add the note here, too, now you've reminded me :) Hope you enjoy the relish, it's one of the most popular recipes on the site along with the tomato sauce recipe. Happy cooking!

Jane

Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

I just tried this recipe. It all looked great until the part when it is supposed to thicken. I gave it extra time. Then extra heat. But it was just boiling away to nothing. I tried a little cornflour but didn’t want to add too much in case it compromised the taste. So I’ll use it as tomato sauce but would love to make a relish that has the jam like consistency. Any advice is welcome.

Libby Hakim

Tuesday 3rd of January 2023

Hi Jane. That's a shame as this recipe generally gets awesome reviews. I'm actually making it myself right now and have the tomatoes and onions resting at the moment. I'm following the recipe to check for anything I can add/clarify so will let you know if something comes up. Sorry you had a disappointing experience. I'm also adding a new tomato jam recipe at the moment - so look out for that! Libby

June Clark

Saturday 31st of December 2022

I loved this recipe. The results are delicious. Thank you for sharing.

Libby Hakim

Sunday 1st of January 2023

Wonderful! Thanks so much for the feedback and rating, June. Happy cooking! x

Katie

Thursday 8th of December 2022

I don't know where I am going wrong, but I've made twice now, and both times the vinegar is just so over powering. The 2nd time I even used less

Libby Hakim

Sunday 11th of December 2022

Hi Katie. The recipe generally gets great reviews, so not sure. If you look at the two older recipes in the post, the first one doesn't use vinegar at all - perhaps try that or omit the vinegar completely from my recipe? Thanks for the feedback and hope you can adjust to suit your taste :)

Nicolas and Sofie

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

Made for the first time with our extra garden tomatoes and we love it! This recipe will become a staple in our autumn canning! Thank you!

Libby Hakim

Tuesday 22nd of November 2022

Wonderful and you're welcome. One of my favourites too. Happy canning :)

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