Are you ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will transport your taste buds to the heart of the South? Look no further than this simple yet delicious recipe for classic Southern green tomato relish. Bursting with tangy flavors and a hint of sweetness, this relish is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite dishes. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this article will guide you through the easy steps of preparing this mouthwatering relish, ensuring that you’ll be savoring its vibrant flavors in no time. So grab your apron and let’s get started on this delightful culinary journey!


To make classic Southern green tomato relish, you will need the following ingredients:

Green tomatoes

Green tomatoes are the star ingredient in this relish. Look for firm, unripe tomatoes that are still green in color.

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Onions provide a savory and slightly sweet flavor to the relish. Choose yellow or white onions for a milder taste.

Bell peppers

Bell peppers add a crunch and a hint of mild spiciness to the relish. You can use red, green, or yellow bell peppers, depending on your preference.


Cucumbers offer a refreshing and crisp texture to the relish. Look for firm and fresh cucumbers to use in this recipe.


Sugar helps balance the acidity of the tomatoes and adds a touch of sweetness to the relish.


Vinegar provides the tanginess and acidity that complements the flavors of the other ingredients. You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a slightly different taste.

Celery seeds

Celery seeds contribute a unique and aromatic flavor to the relish. They add a subtle hint of celery that enhances the overall taste.

Mustard seeds

Mustard seeds add a pleasant and slightly pungent flavor to the relish. They also provide a little bit of texture.


Salt is essential for seasoning and bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients.

Ground turmeric

Ground turmeric adds a vibrant yellow color to the relish and imparts a warm and earthy flavor.


Before getting started, gather all your ingredients and make sure your kitchen tools are clean and ready to use. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare classic Southern green tomato relish:

Step 1: Prepare the tomatoes

Start by washing the green tomatoes under running water. Remove the stems and slice the tomatoes into rounds. Then, cut the rounds into small chunks. Set aside.

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Step 2: Dice the onions, bell peppers, and cucumbers

Peel and chop the onions into small pieces. Remove the seeds from the bell peppers and dice them into similar-sized chunks as the tomatoes. Peel the cucumbers and dice them into small cubes. Set aside.

Step 3: Combine the vegetables

Place all the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Mix them together thoroughly, ensuring an even distribution. Set aside.

Step 4: Create a brine

In a saucepan, combine sugar and vinegar. Add celery seeds, mustard seeds, salt, and ground turmeric. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.

Step 5: Cook the relish

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boiling point, remove it from the heat.

Step 6: Pour the boiling brine over the vegetables

Carefully pour the hot brine over the mixed vegetables in the large bowl. Stir well to ensure that the brine is evenly distributed among the vegetables.

Step 7: Allow the relish to cool down

Let the relish cool down completely at room temperature. Once cooled, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to meld together.

Step 8: Transfer the relish into jars for storage

After the relish has marinated in the refrigerator, transfer it into clean and sterilized jars for storage. Make sure to leave some headspace at the top of the jars to allow for expansion.

Tips and Variations

Here are some tips and variations to consider when making classic Southern green tomato relish:

Adjust sweetness and acidity to taste

The amount of sugar and vinegar can be adjusted according to your personal preference. If you like a sweeter relish, add more sugar. If you prefer a tangier relish, increase the amount of vinegar.

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Add a touch of heat with chili flakes or hot sauce

For those who enjoy a little kick of heat, consider adding chili flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the relish. This will give it a spicy twist that pairs well with many dishes.

Experiment with different spices like cumin or coriander

While the classic recipe calls for celery seeds and mustard seeds, don’t be afraid to experiment with other spices. Consider adding a pinch of cumin or coriander to add depth and complexity to the relish.

Try different types of vinegar for a unique flavor

If you want to switch up the flavor profile of the relish, try using different types of vinegar. Balsamic vinegar, for example, can add a rich and slightly sweet taste, while rice vinegar can offer a more delicate and tangy flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Classic Southern green tomato relish is a versatile condiment that can enhance various dishes. Here are some serving suggestions:

Pair with grilled meats or BBQ

Spread a spoonful of green tomato relish over grilled chicken, pork chops, or burgers. The tanginess of the relish will add a burst of flavor that complements the smoky and savory taste of grilled meats.

Use as a condiment for sandwiches or burgers

Add a dollop of green tomato relish to your sandwiches or burgers for an extra layer of flavor. It pairs particularly well with roast beef, turkey, or even vegetarian options like grilled portobello mushrooms.

Serve with cheese and crackers

Create a simple appetizer by serving green tomato relish with a variety of cheeses and crackers. The tangy relish will provide a refreshing and flavorful contrast to the creamy and salty notes of the cheese.

Add to salads for a tangy twist

Toss some green tomato relish into your favorite salads for a tangy twist. It pairs especially well with mixed greens, roasted vegetables, or grain-based salads like quinoa or couscous.


In conclusion, classic Southern green tomato relish is a delicious and versatile condiment that can elevate your meals. With simple ingredients and easy steps, you can make this relish at home and enjoy a taste of the South. Feel free to experiment with different flavors, spices, and serving suggestions to make it your own. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the tangy and flavorful goodness of Southern green tomato relish.

Jenny Jones

By Jenny Jones

Jenny Jones is a passionate culinary enthusiast hailing from the heart of the South. Born and raised in a small town known for its rich culinary traditions, she developed an unwavering love for Southern cooking from an early age.