Friday, October 29, 2010

Piccalilli / Green Tomato Hot Dog Relish

Now that we've had our first few frosts, my tomatoes have stopped ripening and I'm faced with that big basket full of green ones.  Of course, there's the veritable "fried green tomatoes," which I've never had by the way.  But that only gets rid of a handful.  My father suggested piccalilli, something my grandmother used to make.  I wasn't so sure I'd like it myself but I was happy to make him a few jars just so the tomatoes wouldn't go to waste.

Unfortunately, neither of us could find the recipe and I didn't have time to call my Grandmother and have her locate it.  I needed to get some of the tomatoes cooked and processed immediately.  When I started digging through my various canning books, I soon found that this is just one of those recipes that means something very different to each family--like meatloaf.  Piccalilli is everything from a chow-chow (mix of pickled "end of garden" veggies) to a green tomato relish, and everything in between.  The spices and flavors vary quite widely.

Between my Dad's recollection of the spices and flavor and my recollection of it in general, I ended-up settling on a recipe that I found for "Green Tomato Hot Dog Relish" from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  It's quite less chunky than my Grandmother's recipe, but seemed to have the same blend of spices, sugar, and vinegar.

Here's how it turned-out...

Not too bad.  The result is sweet and tangy like you'd expect a good hot dog relish to be but it has a little extra sour punch from the tomatoes that's not unwelcome.  I don't generally like sweet relish or sweet pickles but I may just give this a try on my next hot dog.

Incidentally, if you aren't into canning, this will keep quite well in a jar or other glass container in the fridge for several months.  If you take the time to boil/sterilize the jars and lids beforehand and don't open each till you're ready to eat, it'll last in the fridge even longer.

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