Whole foods, plant based and full of flavour. I use my own homegrown produce to make this tomato sweet chilli relish. You can use store bought tomatoes, but for the best flavour try grow your own or buy from your local farmers market.
The summer heat here in New Zealand is relentless this time of year! We have been trying to take it easy. Luckily the main chores around the garden involve watering and harvesting.
I have found it far too hot in Waikato to plant anything. Even with constant watering, I see the seedlings shrivel up to a crisp! However, I am starting to make plans for garden bed rotations for autumn/winter planting.
It sounds strange to be thinking so far ahead, but as a gardener you need to be organised. You can miss out on having anything to harvest over winter otherwise. Especially in my garden, we only have a small area so planning is essential for success.
So far this summer we have harvested two beds of new potatoes, two beds of onions, a bed of carrots and a bunch of sweet corn. I have also harvested a lot of tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, chillies, capsicums and passionfruit too.
The onions were dried for storage and put the potatoes into wooden crates, covered from direct sunlight. I also chopped, blanched and froze all the carrots to add into soups for winter.
I feel so grateful to have an abundance of amazing food growing in this little garden of eden. It really is amazing what you can do with a small space and a pile of compost!
This year I grew a lot of different varieties. We moved to a new area a few years back and the first year in our new garden, my tried and trusted favourites just didn’t thrive anymore!
I have spoken to other gardeners who live an hours drive away, they can have a huge difference in climate to our garden here. This really affects what varieties they can grow without risk of blight or other diseases.
So I had to trial different varieties, and see which ones did well so I can grow them again next season. I’ll be sure to do an in-depth post for my 2022 spring preparations!
The Winner’s List:
First place: Big Rainbow. An indeterminate heritage variety which grows HUGE fruit! It needs staking and pruning for sure. I’ll admit that I let mine grow rogue and unfortunately that led to some getting blight. I had to pull a few plants to stop it spreading but the ones which survived the cull have blessed us with a bounty of massive tomatoes.
Second place: Money Maker. Another indeterminate heritage variety. Loads of fruit, perfect for sauces, slicing or salads. No disease issues so far either which is a bonus. I usually pick the fruit as they just start to turn red. I leave them to ripen inside on my dining table. This way the birds don’t peck at the fruit and ruin it before they are vine ripened.
Third place: Patio Choice Yellow F1. A hybrid cherry tomato which is determine. These would be great for pots or hanging baskets. I simply can’t keep up with watering requirements for potted plants. It gets too hot and dry here in summer and plants in pots tend to get really cooked. This is why I grow all my tomatoes in raised beds. I have grown this variety two years in a row and absolutely love it, plenty of tasty fruit and zero disease issues.
Tomato Sweet Chilli Relish Recipe
This recipe is a summer kiwi classic. It can really be adapted in endless ways. I’ve seen it with apple and onion or even red capsicum. If you don’t like intense spicy food, try using a mild chilli variety. I’ll speak more on this below.
Collect Your Ingredients
Tomatoes: As previously mentioned, I strongly recommend using fresh homegrown tomatoes! Either from your own garden, or from your local farmers market. Truly, the supermarket varieties are grown to maximise production and profit, not flavour. The beautiful heirloom tomatoes I grow are have the richest flavour and are supercharged with antioxidants too.
Chillies: This is a recipe for tomato chilli relish, so if you decide to forgo the chilli all together, I suspect it could be somewhat bland! However, these days you can get a huge range of chillies that are low in spice. You could try Anaheim or banana peppers for the chilli flavour without the kick. I am addicted to spicy food, so I had to use a really spicy chilli called Manzano (without the seeds of course) and a green cayenne.
Seasoning: I used a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, natural sweetener and lemon juice. That was all this tomato relish needs as I want the flavour of the tomatoes and the kick from the chilli to really shine.
I cored, scored and blanched the tomatoes so the skins would slip off easily. You don’t have to do this step but I find the final product has a better texture without the tomato skins.
I put all the tomatoes into a heavy bottomed pot and cooked them on low – no oil or frying required. I added the remaining ingredients and simply left it to reduce for 20-30 minutes. The relish thickens as the liquid from the tomatoes cooks off.
Tomato Sweet Chilli Relish Storage and Use
Simply spoon into clean glass jars and label! Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You can also freeze this in containers and defrost as required. This relish goes great with breads and cheeses, on sandwiches or as a topping for pizza.
Tomato Sweet Chilli Relish
- 8-10 medium sized tomatoes, skins removed roughly 5 cups of diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup natural sweetener raw honey, or dried cane sugar
- juice of one lemon
- 3 fresh hot seeded chillies, finely sliced
- Score and core the tomatoes. Blanch for 1-2 minutes in boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon and rinse under cold water to slip off the skins.
- Dice the tomatoes and add to a heavy bottom pot along with the remaining ingredients.
- Cook on medium heat for 20 minutes then reduce to low heat for 30 minutes or until the relish thickens. Stir now and then to ensure the relish doesn't catch and burn.
- Taste for salt and pepper. Adjust seasoning as required. Pour into a clean glass jar and label. This will keep in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
I’d love to know if you tried this recipe and how it went and if you swapped any ingredients for a different flavour.
I am a registered naturopath, medical herbalist and reiki practitioner. If you’d like to know more about how holistic health can help you to achieve your health goals, get in touch today to book your free 15 minute discovery call.