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Friday, September 7, 2012

Green Tomato Dill Pickle Relish

"Waste not. Want Not." 
What do you do with the oodles of itty bitty green tomatoes that will never ripen?

last jar of relish, we"ll be needing more

It's almost time for me to harvest the tomatoes. The ripening ones, I'll bring into the kitchen and keep in a basket on the counter to use as they redden. The full-size green ones I'll put in a large cardboard box, each separated from one another with newspaper. (I scrunch the newspaper accordion-style to make troughs in the paper for the tomatoes to rest.) The small green ones,whose skins are dull in appearance, will likely never ripen. Many of these are as small as marbles. Following the adage "waste not, want not," I'll use even these as a food source.

I wash and stem all of the tiny tomatoes, then run them through the food processor to chop for use in relish or green tomato bar cookie filling. I make both a sweet and a dill version of relish. Here's the recipe for the dill one.

Green Tomato Dill Relish

4 cups (about 600 g) chopped green tomatoes
1  1/2 cups (about 225 g) chopped onion

  • I chop both the onions and tomatoes in the food processor, using the pulse feature, then measure.
  • Drain vegetables in a colander for 30 minutes. After drained, put in a stainless saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, prepare jars and lids.

1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt
2 cups (475 mL) vinegar
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) celery seeds
1  1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small dried red chili pepper, minced, or large pinch of red pepper flakes
fresh dill weed, about 1/4 cup, chopped, or 1 (15 mL) tablespoon dried dill weed

  • Add all the above ingredients to the vegetables. Simmer until soft, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. 

I have enough small green tomatoes to make 2 to 3 pints each of dill and sweet relish every year, which is about enough to last our family until the next harvest.

Is there anything that you particularly heed the advice of "waste not, want not?"

You'll find this post, and many others like it, a click away,  through this link (click) -- a compilation of my recipes, shopping lists, and menu plans that illustrates how I feed my family of 4 adults on $125 to $135 per month.


  1. Thank you for this. I think you and I are of the same mind on getting all we can out of our gardens.

  2. Hi Charlene,
    I'm happy that you can use this recipe. Those green tomatoes make delicious relish, IMO. Enjoy!

  3. This is great. Thanks!

  4. When you say drain do you mean the juice from the veggies and tomatoes

    1. Hi there,
      yes, drain the chopped veggies and tomatoes in a strainer or colander, discard the liquid and put the drained veggies/tomatoes into a saucepan. Hope this makes the instructions clear. Good luck! I made the dill version on Friday and the sweet version this morning. Yum!

  5. I’ve been draining my vegetables a different way this year. Instead of draining in a colander I heat the veg in the cooking pot until the juices release then drain in the sink using the lid as a strainer. You can really control the moisture this way. After the liquid is drained I then add any seasonings and vinegar/sugar and proceeded with the recipe as usual. Works great!


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