front yard tomato relish adventures

My front yard cherry tomatoes are still going strong! I have harvested at least three 4 cup bowls of them this season. Enough that it seemed like we had too many to just snack on and throw into salads. So I went searching for a recipe online for something like a roasted cherry tomato relish.

The roasted part was missing, but I did find a recipe for cherry tomato relish that looked like the kind of relish I know and love, and seemed very quick and easy to make. I made a few adjustments based on my own experience making relish from an old recipe and based on comments left on the online recipe.

relish prep

My version of the recipe:  

(based on the recipe from, who based her recipe on one from Donna Hay magazine)

Finely dice 1 small red onion, cook gently over low heat to soften (about 5 mins) in a medium saucepan, adding a little salt to avoid browning. Add 1 sliced garlic clove, 500g halved cherry tomatoes (about 1lb), 1/2 c brown sugar, 1/2 c red wine vinegar, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and cook over med-high about 15 minutes until slightly thickened/jammy texture. Add up to 1/2 tsp of curry powder to give it more flavor and to thicken, stir and cook another few minutes.  Season if needed.

My original recipe also uses ground mustard powder which should already be in the curry powder, but will add extra flavor. I need to buy some fresh stuff. Mine was too old.

It’s not a fussy recipe – I used 600g of tomatoes without altering anything else and it was fine. I used a bit more curry powder the first time and a bit less the second time. Adjust the spices and seasonings to your taste. Substituting part of the red wine vinegar with balsamic might be delicious. Some commenters had tried that, but I haven’t.

It made a little more than 2 cups. I put it in 2 small jars the first time so I could share with my friend M (the one who gifted me the tomato plants in the first place). She liked it enough to make her own batch. The second time I made a big jar which I hope will last me until the end of September. It should keep a lot longer than the week the original website gave. It’s got sugar, salt, and vinegar in it, nothing that would suggest it should be eaten asap. I’m assuming it should last as long as I’m going to take to eat it – a few weeks – a month. As long as there’s no mold, it should be good (like jam). The original blogger said hers never lasted more than a week because she ate it too fast, so she’s never had a chance to test how long it would keep, but there’s no reason to toss it unless it has visibly gone bad. Sterilize the jar in the oven or dishwasher.



Tomato relish is excellent with cheesy things and pastry-wrapped things and meat. I add it to avocado toast, grilled or toasted cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers, any kind of cheesy lunchmeat sandwich. It’s good with sausage rolls or meat pies, if only they existed in America. It would go just great with a steak, or with sausages and mashed potatoes. There’s nothing wrong with adding it to the top of a slice of cheese (with or without a cracker) for a snack if you have more dairy tolerance than I have.

My next cooking task is to try to reverse engineer my favorite Watties Bit on the Side onion marmalade or find a copycat recipe online. I have a basic idea that you soften the (sweet?) onions, cook with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, and season them, but the seasoning is probably the trick to it, and the label listing “spices” is not very helpful. My friend M is also going to share some of her family’s relish, pickle, and chutney recipes with me. And my lovely friend B might be sending me some Yorkshire relish for my birthday later this month. Pudsley Pickles was the brand name I think. De-lish!

Now that I’ve made both of us hungry I shall say bye bye for now.

Next time, who knows? I might be back with a rant about people choosing their possessions over their own health and safety, or I might show you my lovely new belt.

Until then,


12/25 edited to add: I just finished my jar of homemade relish today, on Christmas Day. It never showed any signs of spoiling, no mold. So don’t feel like you have to rush to eat it for fear of spoilage (assuming you put it in a sterilized jar and follow basic food safety precautions of course!) I’m not surprised that it lasted 4 months in the fridge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen moldy tomato relish.

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2 Responses to front yard tomato relish adventures

  1. cloudthyme says:

    Lovely! Looks wonderful

  2. wherethewildthingsbe says:

    Lovely – thank you for the recipe. I love a bit of condiment on the side to livens up an otherwise bland/boring dish. With my love of hot spicey things and eating simply: plain brown rice and a relish. Yum! I made a very similar concoction last week with a huge harvest of Poha berries(Cape gooseberry). They are same family as tomato. Their sweet/tart taste is wonderful – slightly fruity but also tangy like tomato. I use a bit less sugar and substitute apple cider vinegar because that is what I have in the cupboard at the moment. Indian cookery is excellent for relishes and chutneys – I always flip to those sections in the cookery books for ideas. Poha berry and date chutney is my plan with the next harvest.

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