This tomato relish recipe is inspired by the flavourful herbs the Italians use to cook, but it has proper South African flair. Here in South Africa people use relish with Boerewors Rolle – an African version of a hotdog, eat it with corn porridge, called Pap en sous and use it in pasta dishes. No interesting name for that at least! It is also delicious on a homemade pizza base with melting mozzarella cheese and your own homemade tomato relish.
For this recipe, I used fresh herbs from the garden but feel free to substitute them with dried herbs. You could even leave it out but then you are seriously going to miss out on a lot of special flavours. You will need tomatoes, garlic, onions, a bit of sugar and herbs of your choice. I used origanum and sweet basil.
You can use all the ugly, imperfect tomatoes for this. If you are using baby tomatoes, cut them up in half, otherwise cut them up in wedges and then cut that wedges in half again. You can remove the skins first but honestly, I think it’s unnecessary and it tastes just as nice with it still on. It also adds lots of healthy nutrients that are locked in the skin!
Then cut up the onions and the garlic. The garlic should be chopped up quite small but you can have the onions any way you like. I cut mine into rings.
Time to start cooking your tamato relish recipe!
To a big pot, add the onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Bring to a boil while you stir. The tomato juice will soon appear, then you can stop stirring. As soon as it starts to boil, turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Every now and then just give it a good stir to prevent the bottom from sticking. Nobody likes to scrub pots! Even if it is for a tomato relish recipe.
This is the perfect time to sterilize your jars if you haven’t already. If you don’t know how to do it, click here.
You will see quite a lot of liquid, but it will soon boil down, leaving behind a thick flavorful tomato relish. Well, actually don’t taste it yet! We first have to add the herbs and flavourings. So add some chopped herbs, about a tablespoon or so will do the trick. Also, add a bit of brown sugar and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Stir. Now you can taste it! Add more herbs, sugar or salt if you think it needs some more. Otherwise, leave it to simmer for a few minutes more so that all the flavours can combine, or ‘marry’, like the fancy people say.
If you want to make tomato sauce instead, blend with a stick blender or food processor until smooth. Make sure it has cooled down a bit first though.
Next, scoop big spoon fulls of your delicious homemade sauce into your canning jars, leaving about a 1/4 of an inch space between the sauce and the lid. Wipe the rims with a very clean, damp cloth and screw the lids on tight. You can ask your husband to do that, they are very good at tightening a lid too much!
And there you have it, sweet, ripe tomatoes bottled in a jar, ready to spice up any meal! Lastly, turn your jars upside down overnight and they are ready to store away. Enjoy!
PS* Enjoy it on fresh-baked Guyanese bread – here is the link to the recipe 🙂
South African Italian-Inspired Tomato Relish
- canning jars
- 3 kg ripe tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp fresh origanum
- 2 tbsp fresh sweet basil
- 1 tsp salt
- Chop your tomatoes up in wedges. Cut your wedges up in smaller pieces again. You can also use baby tomatoes, just cut them in half.
- Dice the onions and mince the garlic.
- In a big saucepan, combine the onions, tomatoes, and garlic. Bring to a boil, stirring often.
- Then, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
- While you wait, sterilize your jars and allow them to dry.
- Add the herbs, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Taste and adjust the amounts as needed. Simmer for another few minutes to allow the flavours to marry.
- Taste again and if you are satisfide with the taste, laddle big spoonsful into your clean and sterilized jars. Leave about a 1/4 inch of headspace between your sauce and the lid. Clean the rims and tighten the lids. Turn upside down overnight. In the morning, turn them upright again and store in a cool, dry place. Enjoy!
Latest on the blog
- Baked chocolate pudding recipe
- Trusty Crusty Pumpkin Pie – The How to Guide
- South African Shortbread rusk recipe