Last year was the first time I attempted to grow tomatoes. Edible food appearing seemingly out of nowhere. I did not have a bountiful harvest by any means. I had just one tomato plant that I bought, and each tomato grew and ripened in a staggered fashion. I had already enjoyed growing different types of herbs but seeing food growing before your eyes, is especially rewarding. Eventually, I had a few tomatoes of my own and I got a bunch more from a friend who had also started growing tomatoes. I wanted to make something with these precious home grown treasures that I could savour for a bit longer, rather than just blending them in to everyday use. It was also a good lesson in finding different ways of preserving / storing a surplus crop, as fresh food perishes quickly. I found a recipe for ‘Tomato and Onion Relish’ and decided to give it a go for the first time.
- 1 lb tomatoes
- 1 lb onions
- 2 large garlic cloves crushed
- 3 oz sugar (I used brown)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 pint [5 fl oz] white vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
The ingredients can be doubled, tripled etc. depending on the amount of tomatoes you have to work with.
Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water, allowing them to stand for about 30 seconds. Drain, peel and finely chop them. Finely chop the onions and in a large saucepan, mix them with the tomatoes and all the other ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and leave it to simmer uncovered for an hour. Stir the relish from time to time so that it doesn’t stick to the saucepan. Transfer the relish to warm / sterilized storage jars. Cover them immediately with an airtight lid. Allow the relish to mature for at least 1 month. It can be stored for 6 to 9 months.
I waited patiently for a month to pass after I made my relish. It was worth the wait. I don’t like to waste food so I was especially pleased the relish turned out to be to my taste and that I could find many ways of using it. I would describe it as both moderately sweet and sour, and mildly spicy. It was all gone in no time. No long term storage required. 🙂
The recipe suggested that the relish could be served with grilled meat, sausages and barbecued chicken. To that list I would add that it makes a tasty accompaniment to any form of breakfast eggs, on the side of a cheese toasties, with cheese on crackers, in a sandwich, with quiche or with oven baked fish and home made chipped potatoes.
This year I will be attempting to grow tomatoes from seed. A new venture!! I may be getting way ahead of myself but if it turns out to be a success and I have a bumper crop, I now have a tried and tested plan for a surplus of those precious Tommie-Toes.
From a nutritional point of view cooked tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene. Lycopene is an anti-oxidant found in red and pink fruits. Intake can be increased dramatically with lycopene supplements but it may be most effective when consumed in lycopene rich foods like tomatoes. While lycopene has been shown to have anti-aging, heart health and other health benefits, it is most noted for its beneficial effect on male fertility and a reduced risk of prostate cancer, when regularly consumed in the diet. Thanks to Dr. Josh Axe you can read all about this nutrient here.
Pickles & Preserves,  Bounty Books ISBN: 978-0753718964