DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
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11 April 2016

Homemade tomato relish

It's wonderful having the time to do a bit of preserving when the opportunity arises.  I bought a 10 kg box of tomatoes for $8 on Friday and on Saturday turned it into about four litres of tomato relish and two litres of tomato sauce.  If you want to try your hand at this, ask your greengrocer if they have any cheaper boxes of tomatoes, or fruits that you can turn into jam. The end of summer, going into autumn, is a good time to ask as the fruit is in season then, will be at its peak flavour and cheaper than at other times of the year. The abundance of produce at that time often encourages greengrocers to reduce the price to move the stock before it over ripens.




In addition to the tomatoes, you'll need added flavourings. I used onions, celery, chilli, oregano, salt, pepper and curry powder as well as vinegar and sugar.
Instead of dicing the tomatoes, I chopped them in a food processor.  Just a quick chop is all they need, you want to retain the texture too.

Clean jars can be sterilised in an oven on 160C for 15 minutes. Make sure the jars are still hot when you add the relish.


This is tomato sauce made for a special pasta dish in mid-winter.
After cooking and before freezing, I put it through a mouli to remove the skins.
The sauce was packed in a plastic tub for freezing.

Tomatoes are a good starting point if you have never done any preserving before. They're usually easy to buy, or grow, and they don't cost too much. If you can buy them at a cheaper price, you'll be able to add jars of good quality relish or sauce to your cupboard or freezer stockpile that you can use during the year.  Only high acid foods, or foods you can add lemon juice or vinegar to, are suitable for preserving in jars but adding the right amount of vinegar, and the sugar that helps balance out the vinegar, will give you the right acid level to keep the relish safe. If you're not sure of your recipe, always freeze large amounts of relish or store smaller amounts in the fridge in sterilised jars.

I'll be giving some of my jars away but most will be stored in the cupboard and then kept in the fridge after opening.  I have frozen the larger quantity of sauce in a plastic container to be used in the dead of winter on some homemade pasta. I'll probably make cheese to go in that meal too.

RECIPE: For every 1 kilogram of tomatoes, add 2 chopped medium onions and 2 sticks of chopped celery, 160 mls vinegar (I use malt vinegar) and ½ cup brown sugar.  Add salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon curry powder, chilli, oregano and any other spice you like. Add all your ingredients to a stockpot and boil for at least four hours on a slow heat until the relish has reduced and thickened. While still hot, add to sterilised jars, turn upside down and leave on the bench overnight to cool.

It will pay off for you to learn a few different ways to store food. We either work hard for the money to buy food or we work hard to grow food, wasting it shouldn't be an option. My next food storage projects are lime cordial that I hope to make today, and rosella jam and tea later in the week. We have rosellas growing in the backyard and will strip those bushes to make way for our winter vegetable garden. You'll find real comfort in eating your own summer foods in the middle of winter. What have you put away for eating later in the year?


31 comments:

  1. Hi Rhonda, This relish looks delicious! Thanks for taking the time to post all the photos and instructions. Can I just ask what you do differently to make the tomato sauce? We have spag bol so often, but I'm looking for a good pasta sauce recipe that I can make myself.

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    1. Hi Stephanie. I make my sauce by simply cutting the tomatoes in half, add salt and pepper, fresh basil and oregano. Bring to the boil and slowly cook for about two hours until the tomatoes have broken down. Then I push it all through a mouli to remove the skins. Many people add garlic, onions and various herbs but I tend to prefer this simple, pure sauce and then I add my fresh flavours when I'm making the final dish.

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  2. There is nothing better than home made pasta. I have a bottle for each week of the year in storage. It is absolutely delicious.

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  3. That sounds like a delicious relish, Rhonda.. Thanks for the recipe.. I look forward to beginning to put up some rhubarb jam, dandelion jelly and pickled fiddleheads as Spring has arrived here in Eastern Canada.. I always reading your wonderful inspiring posts.. xo

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  4. I have lots of ratatouille frozen in meal size containers. Some of the eggplants and zucchinis I picked from the garden before I moved, but these are all available fresh and cheaply at the Farmer's Market, so I stock up. I love eggplant, I eat it every day if I can, so I while it's in season, I buy up lots and roast it, then chop roughly before freezing, this way I have plenty on hand ready to drop into a pot of dahl curry or other dish. Thanks for the relish recipe.

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    1. Thanks for a great idea Nanette! Cheer from Ria in Darwin :)

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  5. I found a blackberry patch about 5 minutes up the road from me and I spoke to the owner of the land. She told me the berries weren't sprayed so I happily picked away and made jam and cordial.
    I also froze some to use in my breakfast smoothies made with homemade yoghurt and museli.
    at the time I was picking my 20odd kilos of berries they were selling in the supermarket for $31.25/kg! So over $600 of free berries.
    Claire

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    1. That's great Claire. What a bonanza, and you got a good return on your work. Well done!

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    2. I would love a nice yoghurt recipe, as I spend a fortune on it in the supermarket - do you use a yoghurt maker? or another form? Any help would be appreciated. Ann.

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    3. I make yoghurt. I use a yoghurt maker thermos flask thing (Easiyo brand) with the litre sized containers that fit inside. To start it off I buy the yoghurt powder sachets (unsweetened, unflavoured greek yog style) but I only use a couple of tablespoons of the powder, then add half a cup of skim milk powder. I half fill the yoghurt container with milk and shake really well for a minute (this shaking has improved the smoothness of my end yoghurt). Then top up with more milk. Pour boiling water into the thermos to the recommended height. Put in container and leave overnight. The yog will continue to thicken as it cools in the fridge too. My frugal tip for the subsequent batches is to use a couple of tablespoons of your yog from the previous batch to seed the new batch. So 2 tablespoons of yog, half a cup of milk powder, shake well with milk, top up and away you go. Remember the mostly unused packet of yoghurt powder from the beginning? Pop it in the fridge, sealed well, and use it when you need to restart a batch. I find it keeps quite well for several months. Enjoy! Rachel

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  6. Hi Rhonda, that looks like a great stockpile. We are making tomato sauce with apples in it-Jembella Farms recipe, highly recommend. Pasta Sauce- River Cottage style, filling a roasting dish with tomatoes, onions,garlic and herbs and using bigger deseeded zucchini roasting them then blitzing them into a sauce consistency and freezing them in meal size portions. Stewed apples and spices freezing them in pie/crumble size portions. Apple chutney. Beetroot Relish. Cucumber Pickles. Making up meal portion size bags of zucchini, onion, carrot, celery and roasted vegetables for the freezer. Herb blocks - chopping up a mix of italian or asian style herbs mixing them with a little olive oil and water put in a cup cake tray, freezing them then putting into a bag in the freezer. Great instead of buying herbs . Nothing fancy. Sounds a lot but it is just a little each couple of days for when I can manage it and it all adds up to a lot and makes my heart skippy happy ! Enjoy creating your day, Jude (sunflowers and tulips).

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    1. Oh, that's wonderful. Yours sounds like such a productive kitchen. :- )

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  7. We've had a major glut of passionfruit over the summer. In experimenting, I found pure passionfruit does not make great jam. However when mixed with mango or paw paw it is absolutely divine. I made a number of bottles of passionfruit cordial. tastes like Passiona when mixed with soda water. When mangoes were in season I made Mango Chilli Chutney, Mango and ginger jam and the two jams already mentioned. I have recently added several jars of mint sauce and fiery hot sweet chilli sauce. I was gifted some chokos on the weekend and intend to make these into choko pickles. We only have a small freezer so not a lot can be saved there. I have also been gifted two very large Jap pumpkins and a pumpkin relish recipe. Will have a go at making this up next weekend. My tomatoes are just starting to flower. Cant't wait until there is enough for homemade sauce,

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    1. Nice one Jane. I imagine your preserves cupboard (or room) is about ready to burst.

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    2. Agreed - passionfruit jam was not a big success but adding some passionfruit to a batch of marmalade is yum!

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  8. Wondering if any one can help me with ideas how to preserve a chili sauce I make for my husband. He is a serious chili nut and likes his chili sauce EXTREEMELY hot. According to him no bought sauce is hot enough. So I harvest habonaro chilies from our garden and simmer them with a clove or two of garlic, salt, pepper and peeled and cored green apples. I then blitz them with a hand blender, put in clean jars and store in the fridge. I haven't worried too much about sterilization in the past as he usually consumes whatever I make within a month and the jars are refridgerated. But I am getting a glut of chilies and am wondering how to best preserve them for a slightly longer period. Add lemon juice? If so how much? Or maybe freezing would be a better solution. I don't want to fuss with the recipe too much as he just really wants to eat something as close to pureed chilies as possible le (seeds and all) so I just bulk it out with apples to add more volume and tone it down a smidge.

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    1. Therese, chillies freeze very well. I have bags of them in my freezer. If I were you, I'd freeze your glut in batches and them just use them from the freezer when you need to make up a new batch. They freeze whole - just wash, dry and place them, as is, in a freezer bag.

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    2. Thanks Rhonda. I think that is the best approach. Last night I cooked up a big lot of chili's which may last him 2 months. I'm a bit concerned it may go bad so from now until the frost hits I think I will freeze from now on.




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  9. This sounds good Rhonda, thank you. I saw boxes of tomatoes for $10 this morning so I will pick one up and make this recipe on Saturday.

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  10. Hi Rhonda,
    I loved your post today and is right on theme, of my current goal, to be more resourceful. We are in the process of cutting back on the amount of money we spend on food per month. We are getting there, the steps are slow, and it's hard work!

    For years now I've been making quiche using store bought short crust pastry. A week ago I decided to give pastry a go, boy was it a hit! Everybody loved it! In the batch I made, I had some left over, so I rolled it up And popped it in the freezer.

    Today I decided to pull it out, make another quiche for a rainy day, and freeze it. It's great to know that on those days when the last thing I want to do, is cook dinner, I have something homemade that will please everyone. Jade x

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    1. That's fantastic, Jade, I'm so proud of you. Pastry is one of those things that scare people but as you've discovered, it's easy when you follow the recipe. Keep up the good work. xx

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  11. That's a great price for a box of tomatoes...my friend and I recently made some pasta sauce for the first time which has been great...we made 4 jars each and my kids love it. I received your book last Thursday and have read the first 2 chapters which is great. I wrote a little post on it. Congrats on the book...it's beautiful. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane

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    1. Thanks Kathy. I'm pleased you're enjoying the book. xx

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  12. I'll have to wait quite a while before I have tomatoes in my northern garden! I wanted to comment to let you know that two days ago your book arrived in my mail, ordered as you suggested from Australia.I have your other book too and some little one on kindle. I am older than you are (by a bit) so I know those skills that may not have been passed on enough, but this topic of the simple life is very dear to my heart. Well done!

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    1. The ripples continue to travel further out. I hope you enjoy the book. I enjoyed looking at your blog. It's very interesting and I'll be back there again to read more.

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  13. Hi Rhonda- hope you are well. Thankyou for sharing this post, I am slowly venturing into a little preserving and building the stockpile. I have a bag of Rosellas in my freezer, ready to make a batch of jam, but cannot find one that doesn't seem to much for a beginner. If possible, could you post the recipe you use? Thankyou.x Michelle

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  14. Food at it's very best. Your homemade tomato sauce and relish look wonderful. Pam

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  15. Thanks for a great post Rhonda. My 3 girls are on holidays from school at the moment and each day we bake something for morning tea with left overs being frozen for lunch boxes. And we cook something for the freezer. Today it'll be sausage rolls and a huge batch of spaghetti bol mince.
    Thanks for more super ideas for pasta sauces. My girls love making pasta bakes so ready-to-go healthy homemade pasta sauce is always appreciated!

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  16. Great recipe, thank you! I always find it interesting to obtain recipes from other countries, usa, than mine to try. I am definitely going to try yours this year. We are just going into spring now so come on summer! Thanks Rhonda, Elaine

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  17. I heat my jars in the oven also....always hated pulling them out of boiling water...I put them on a cookie sheet (with sides) and the cookie sheet catches any spill over...as I'm a messy cook/canner :) Jan

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