Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tomatoes, Apples & Onions! Oh My!

In most places wherever you live, there is a little slip of time, when the last of the tomatoes are still ripening (and you are looking for new ways to use them), while the first of the fresh, local apples are being picked from the trees.  Add some of this year's onions, and you've got the  fresh ingredients for a wonderful relish!

This is a old recipe that my Mom started canning when I was a little girl, and I've made it myself ever since I set up my own home.  The original recipe calls it "chili sauce", but it isn't anything like "chili", nor is it like that bottled 57 varieties commercial brand that you can buy in grocery stores, but you do use it in similar ways.  But this one is SO much better!!  I supposed it could be called a tomato-apple relish, or chutney, but by whatever name, it is sweet and tangy, and luscious, mixed with a little homemade citrus or blood orange marmalade, glazed over chicken, pork chops, and as my Mom only used to use it, as a topper on meatloaf. Yum!!  My mouth waters just thinking about it!

You are going to need:

16 Large Tomatoes
8 Sour Apples
5 Onions
1 Quart Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Cups White Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teasp. Cinnamon
1/2 Teasp. Black Pepper
2 1/2 Tblsp. Salt
1 Teasp. Cloves
1/2 Teasp. Ground Mustard

Pint or Half Pint canning jars with lids and rings, or jelly jars. (I used to put this up in pint jars, but since it is just my hubs and me, I use the jelly jars, and get 18 jars.  It keeps in the refrigerator for weeks, like ketchup.

If you have a food processor, this is where it comes in handy.  I used to do all of this by hand, and it works fine, but just takes a lot longer to prepare!

I peel and section the onions first, then run them on blade only to chop them up.  Use the largest soup pot or kettle that you have. Initially, this makes a lot, but cooks down.  Put the chopped onions into the pot.

Wash, section and core the apples, but you don't need to peel them, but do look for soft spots or blemishes.  Run those through your food processor, or a coarse blade of a food grinder if you have one of those. Pour into the pot.

Wash the tomatoes, and section, removing the stem core, and run those through your food processor or grinder.  If you are doing this by hand, then you can cut your tomatoes into large chunks, since they will cook down.

**  A word about tomatoes. .if you are buying commercially canned tomatoes, and your recipe calls for crushed, pureed, or diced tomatoes, always, always buy the whole ones and crush or cut them up yourself.  Why?  Because the canners always use the best looking and highest quality tomatoes for their whole tomatoes, and the, um, shall we say, lesser quality ones for the crushed or chopped ones.  You don't even want to think about the quality of the ones that are used in making tomato sauce, pastes, purees, and ketchup. This isn't anything unusual. It is the standard not only for tomatoes, but pickle relishes too, jams, jellies. . I've lived my whole life in this farm belt area, and made school clothes money picking, sorting and cleaning every type of veggie or fruit that you can think of, the last of each season, going through and picking every fruit or veggie, no matter what the condition, then sitting in a long line of trucks and tractors in the hot sun at the canneries. . and now that I've totally grossed you out, let's get back to the good stuff!!!  Remember. .these are veggies that YOU picked out, by your own hand, eye and nose.

Add those fresh, firm chopped up tomatoes into the pot with the onions and apples, and stir until well combined.  I left out some photos of the different steps, but I'm confident that you can figure it out!  Cook at a medium low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently because it can scorch quite easily.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and cook slowly, uncovered for 2 hours, or until it reaches the thickened consistency that you favor. (I have even refrigerated it overnight after cooking for the 2 hours, then reheated it just to bubbling again the next day, which thickened it up even more, and gave the flavors a chance to blend.)

In the meantime, sterilize your jars (dishwasher is wonderful for this step, if your water is hot enough, and you keep the unit closed until you need to use the jars.), and lids.

Ladle into hot jars, leaving no less than 1/2 inch space between the relish and the rim of the jar.  Wipe the rim clean, place sterile lid and hand tighten the ring onto the jar.

Seal in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.  I'm assuming that you know all about this step, but if this is your first time canning, let me know, and I'll explain more fully, or you can go to the experts at Ball Canning.

And that's it!  When the jars have cooled and each lid has provided you with a resounding "pop!!" to let you know that it is sealed, you can write out your labels for the jars, and store them in a dark, cool place.



  1. Mmmm...sounds GOOD!
    (and I love the witches in your header!)

  2. I spent my weekend jarring and baking. Loved every minute of it. Will be doing more next weekend. Thanks for sharing your recipes!


  3. This recipe sounds delish! Thank you for sharing with us.

    And I love the Ladies in your banner. Looks like they are gathering for, perhaps, afternoon tea?


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