Canning green tomato relish

I am trying to modernize a recipe from a 1934 Watkins Cookbook that makes the best Green Tomato Relish. Here is the recipe:

2 pounds of green tomatoes
1 onion
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. salt

Grind vegetables in a meat grinder with a coarse blade. Mix vegetables and let stand one hour. Squeeze out the liquid. Add sugar, vinegar and spices tied in a spice bag. Cook for 10 minutes, pour into clean hot jars and seal. Mother notes 13 lbs. of green tomatoes equal 12 pints.

Here are my issues with this recipe: does it have enough vinegar to safely can and how long would you water bath it? If it doesn’t have enough vinegar could you pressure can it? All I remember is that Mom never open-kettled anything! In fact she pressure canned her tomato sauce as she wanted the bugs dead!

Judy Jarred
Latham, Kansas

I wouldn’t be afraid to process this relish for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner. Between the acid in the tomatoes and the vinegar/sugar, it should be perfectly safe. It resembles a recipe I have for Piccalilli, but the Piccalilli has chopped green peppers and a few different spices. — Jackie

Fall garden prep

First I want to thank you, Jackie, for giving us permission to use your canning book for our beginning gardening and canning class that I taught at our church. We had a great response with 15-20 participants. All were first time canners. We were able to set up a community garden on my brothers property and am confident that hundreds of quarts of produce were successfully canned and we had great time doing it.

Now to my question. As we get ready to put our gardens to bed for the winter, I’m wondering if I should roto till my manure in this fall or just leave it on top all winter and till it in in the spring. I have access to rabbit and sheep manure (the sheep has a lot of straw in it and may give my tiller fits). I plan to give my garden a good tilling this fall after I get rid of the debris. Just wondering if it matters.

Adell Struble
Aledo, Illinois

I’m so happy that you got good use out of my book in your class. It is so gratifying that so many new gardeners and canners are popping up all across the country! Wow. That’s really a good thing.

I would till in the manure this fall so that it can be decomposing all winter. If your sheep manure has a lot of straw, you might want to layer it in shallow depths, then till that in, and later on repeat, working in as much of the straw as you can. If it gets real tough, leave the rest on top over winter. It will break down somewhat and be easier to till in next spring…but you’ll already have quite a bit already in the ground. — Jackie

Pumpkin pie filling

Requesting a recipe to make Pumpkin Pie filling from pie pumpkins, and be able to can it, if possible.

Mark Clark
Edinboro, Pennsylvania

Sorry, Mark, but it is not now recommended that we can pureed pumpkin (as in pie filling) or squash because there is a possibility that the center of this dense food product might not heat up enough during processing to kill any dangerous bacteria present. Now we are advised to can cubed pumpkin, then just drain it and run it through a sieve or put it in the blender after opening, to create a safe puree. — Jackie


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