Recipe: No Sugar Green Tomato Relish (Can or Freeze)

I’ve been waiting all year to have fresh red tomatoes in my backyard, but this green tomato relish recipe is SO incredibly delicious that I didn’t even think twice about plucking some off the vines before they could even ripen. I occasionally get obsessed with certain recipes, and my friends – this is one of them! I don’t think it’s a secret that I am also slightly obsessed with the crock-pot refried bean recipe and let me tell you those beans are suddenly reinvented when topped with this relish (in addition to the standard melted cheese and sour cream of course). Not that I haven’t been caught just eating this relish by the spoonful. :) Can you tell I am smitten?

Green Tomato Relish from 100 Days of #RealFood

Anyway due to all the chopping and simmering this recipe will require several hours of your time from start to finish, which isn’t a common theme with my recipes so I wanted to be sure to point that out. If you aren’t into the “canning” thing you can easily shave off some time by simply freezing the end results. Either way you won’t regret it…yum! Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was introduced to this recipe at my canning class with Ashley Eller earlier this year. Thank you Ashley!

Reusable Canning Lid Sponsor

Before we dive into the recipe though I want to introduce one of our newest sponsors: Tattler Reusable Canning Lids. I am new to canning myself, but one thing I learned pretty quickly is that the standard Ball lids can only be used once for canning. So every time you want to can a recipe you have to actually go out and buy brand new lids. Tattler recognized this obvious waste and unnecessary expense so in the 1970s they developed BPA-free plastic canning lids that can be used over and over again…indefinitely! I used them to make this relish yesterday, and they worked out great. The only difference is you want to keep the bands fiarly loose when you process the jars then you’ll need to tighten them as soon as they come out of the boiling water. Other than that they are just like the canning lids you are used to…except less waste of course!

Canning Basics

If you are new to canning be sure to check out my honey strawberry jam tutorial for some detailed instructions, but in short you will need:

  • Canning pot with or without a rack (a dish towel can also be used to separate jars from bottom)
  • Canning jars with either new or reusable lids (we like the freezable kind with no “shoulders”)
  • Canning utensils including a jar lifter, funnel, bubble remover/headspace tool, and magnetic lid lifter
  • Clean dish towels
  • Sterilized tongs and ladle
  • A digital or analog scale
  • Optional: Thermometer and dissolvable canning labels (I love these labels…no more peeling off old masking tape!)

Also, please note it’s imperative that the rules of canning are always followed to a “T” in order to prevent spoilage or harmful bacteria in your end product!


5.0 from 4 reviews
Recipe: No Sugar Green Tomato Relish (Can or Freeze)
Serves: Yield: 6 – 7 pints
Recipe from Ashley Eller and Farm Girl Fare
  • 4 pounds green tomatoes
  • 2 pounds white or yellow onions
  • 1 ½ pounds red bell peppers
  • 1 pound tart cooking apples (like Granny Smith)
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups raw (unpasteurized) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 8 jalapeno peppers
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons dried cumin
  1. Make Relish: Remove stem and core from green tomatoes and roughly chop into ½ inch or 1 inch pieces. Add to a large pot with heat turned off while you prepare rest of ingredients.
  2. Peel, roughly chop and add onions to pot. Remove stem and seeds from red bell peppers and roughly chop as well. Remove core from apples, discard, and roughly chop (including peel). Mince garlic and add to pot along with onions, red bell peppers, and apples.
  3. Add apple cider vinegar and salt to pot and set over high heat. When vinegar comes to a boil turn down to low and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  4. While relish is simmering finely chop jalapenos (only remove/discard seeds for half of them), chop cilantro, and set aside. I highly recommend wearing latex or rubber gloves while chopping the jalapenos otherwise your hands could sting for a few hours…I know this from experience!
  5. To Can Recipe: Fill canning pot three-quarters full with water, cover, and set over high heat until it comes to a boil. You can either sterilize your jars in this pot of boiling water for 10 minutes or by using the heated drying cycle in your dishwasher. It’s important to keep the jars hot and sterilized until ready for use. Be sure all canning utensils have been sterilized in hot soapy water as well. Also fill a small pot with water to sterilized lids and bands. Water for lids/bands should be hot at about 180 degrees F, but not boiling. Leave them in hot water (on simmer) until ready for use. If water gets cold remove lids/bands and heat up water to 180 degrees F again before adding them back in.
  6. After the 1 hour and 15 minutes is up the relish should have boiled down a bit. Add the jalapenos, cilantro and cumin to pot and simmer for 5 more minutes.

  7. Use either an immersion blender or potato masher to process the mixture into a small dice, but not a puree. I highly recommending owning an immersion blender if you don't have one's perfect for pureeing soups and other recipes like this relish without having transfer batches back and forth between a blender, which makes a mess!
  8. To Freeze Recipe: At this point divvy up relish among freezer safe containers and once cool transfer to freezer. If using glass jars be sure to leave enough room at the top for the relish to expand during freezing. You can skip the last two steps.
  9. To Fill Jars for Canning: Turn relish back up to a boil. Remove jars from hot water, shake out excess water, and set near pot. Using a sterilized ladle and funnel, fill the jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace at the top. Slide a non-metallic utensil into jar to remove any air bubbles. Wipe off rim of jar with a clean cloth. Using sterilized tongs (or magnetic lid lifter) carefully place lids onto filled jars. You can touch top of lids once they are on jar, but do not touch underneath or on inside of jar to keep everything sterilized. Screw on bands by only touching the outside, although bands should not be too tight especially if using the Tattler reusable lids
  10. To Process Jars: Bring water in canning pot back up to a boil. Using jar lifter carefully transfer jars to canning pot. Jars should not directly be touching the bottom of the pot and instead be separated either by a canning rack or simple dish towel. Once water comes back to a boil start timing from that moment and process jars for 15 minutes. After time is up using jar lifter carefully remove jars from boiling water and transfer them to a clean dish towel. Let jars rest until they cool, but if using the Tattler reusable lids be sure tighten the bands immediately. If jar lids haven’t already popped/sealed you should hear the sound…and if a jar doesn’t seal within 24 hours transfer it to fridge and eat within 3 – 4 weeks.


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  • Comments

    1. Lisa |

      Came upon this via Google search for Green Tomato Relish, and was thrilled to find a no-sugar recipe. Also very pleased with your excellent instructions. We made it last night (so much for a long night’s sleep, but we are still smiling!). Forgot to add cumin at the end, and it is still delicious. Might try adding some cumin after the fact, but doesn’t necessarily need it. Thank you very much!

    2. Steve |

      I have a question on your relish.
      While it is simmering for the 1.5 hours, should it be covered?

      it looks great and i am looking forward to trying it.

      Thank you

      • |

        I leave it uncovered …good luck!

    3. Sarah |

      I just made this this morning and wanted to send my thanks for sharing such a great recipe. This was a home run! Delicious, well balanced, tangy, spicy, slightly sweet from the apples, but the flavors of the veggies shine through. We will be keeping this recipe around. Many thanks!

    4. jane |

      Great recipe! Have some green cherry tomatoes and tomatillos waiting to be relished.

    5. Elisamo42 |

      Torn out my tomatoes Saturday, so many green ones. So glad I found your recipe, we hit the farmers market for the rest of the ingredients Sunday. Your directions were so easy to follow, it was my first canning experience. My husband was a huge help & loved the fact there was no sugar! He was eating it by the bowl full, topped with a little Greek yogurt! Yum! Took us about 5 hours, we doubled the recipe. We canned 24 half pint jars and filled a variety of jars I had around for the fridge. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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