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Using tinned tomatoes

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Author Topic: Using tinned tomatoes  (Read 509 times)
« on: June 29, 2009, 02:48:08 am »

Budget tomato relish

By PATRICIA SOPER - The Southland Times | Saturday, 20 June 2009

CHEAP AND MOREISH: It is possible to make good quality tomato relish using tinned tomatoes.

CHEAP AND MOREISH: It is possible to make good
quality tomato relish using tinned tomatoes.

I was issued a challenge of sorts by one of our local cafes.

Like most places that serve sandwiches and hot snacks, they use a lot of relish.

Owners Morrie and Wendy wondered if it was possible to make a good quality tomato relish using tinned tomatoes.

To be honest I had never thought of it and had never seen a recipe that came close, but the idea had merit.

Like most cooks I make relish when tomatoes are plentiful and at their least expensive or when the season permits the glasshouse to produce well. Tinned tomatoes are cheap and available year-round; they also have great flavour and colour.

My challenge was one of method.

Because tomatoes in tins are very juicy I had to come up with an entirely different recipe from my usual one in which the fruit and chopped onions are sprinkled with salt to remove excess moisture.

To absorb the extra moisture of the tinned fruit I used finely chopped cooking apples and, instead of adding the onions and peppers to the pan raw, I cooked them first.

The result was gratifying. The relish is an excellent colour and the flavour is every bit as good as my fresh tomato recipe.

So now you can make tomato relish year-round, which will please the family and stretch the budget.

Stir it into sour cream for a tangy dip, spoon it into casseroles, smother it with tasty cheese on wholegrain bread or give a jar to a friend.

Makes about six medium-size jars.


  • Three 400g tins of whole tomatoes in juice
  • 2 cups finely diced onions
  • 1 large red capsicum, deseeded and diced
  • 1 cup finely diced apple
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or finely chopped rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil w1 tbsp plain white flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 rounded tsp curry powder
  • tsp chilli paste or pinch of chilli flakes
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • About 2 cups vinegar plus a little extra for mixing dry ingredients


  • Drain tomatoes into a sieve or colander and discard juice.
  • Allow tomatoes to drain further while you chop apple, onions and capsicum.
  • Heat oil in a large pan then add onion, apple, capsicum and seasonings.
  • Cook until tender then add the whole drained tomatoes, tomato paste, chilli and thyme then bring back to a brisk simmer.
  • With a small sharp knife cut the drained tomatoes into pieces in the pan during this step.
  • Add vinegar to the pan to barely cover the mixture.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Combine sugar, mustard and curry powders and flour in a bowl.
  • Add enough vinegar to moisten then stir to combine thoroughly.
  • Add this mixture to the pan, stir, and bring back to the boil.
  • Cook slowly, stirring often, for 45 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.
  • Bottle and seal while hot.
  • Store in a cool dark place to retain colour.

Cook's tip: Always leave some moisture in relish before bottling. Because of its sugar content it will thicken on standing and even more on keeping.

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