Food Talk
Past Issues:

Gathering in the Season’s Bounty

TomatoesHarvest has traditionally always been a time where we gather in what has grown over the season, and in many instances, preserve it for the months ahead. Although these days we can buy vegetables and fruits 12 months of a year, there’s nothing better than produce fresh and in season.

Canning and preserving is an important part of preserving the harvest. Using natural preservatives such as vinegar, salt and spices, it is possible to take fresh cucumbers picked in September and turn them into delicious relish or dill pickles for months ahead.

In years past, canning and preserving had a second very important role. It meant that food stored through the months didn’t have to be bland. Pickles and relishes added great flavour to meat, vegetables, and side dishes. In the late 1800s, the Heinz Company began to introduce pickles that you could buy in a store. Before that, the only way to get pickles was to make them yourself.

We can easily buy pickles these days, but making them is fun, and gives a great deal of satisfaction.  Just think, next February you can enjoy some of that great salsa you made with fresh tomatoes! For those new to canning, this recipe doesn’t use traditional canning. Once you make it, the pickles are kept in the refrigerator as long as you want.

Chinese Medicine teaches us to live in harmony with nature and in harmony with the seasons.  It is considered a cornerstone of health, well being and longevity. So when autumn is here, it is a time to harvest and gather energy.

Yummy Tomato Relish

Great for winter hamburgers, beef, or with curried chicken. Check out this tomato relish dish.

Makes 10 cups. You’ll need 5 x 2 cup-capacity sterilized glass jars with lids.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lbs ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb cooking onions, halved, sliced
  • 1/3 cup salt
  • 1 cup white or brown vinegar
  • 1½ lbs white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2½ tablespoons plain flour

Method:

  1. Combine tomato, onion and salt in a glass or ceramic bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain liquid from tomato mixture. Transfer mixture to a large stock pot. Add enough vinegar to just cover the mixture. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid has reduced by half.
  3. Add sugar. Stir to combine. Boil for 30 minutes, stirring often.
  4. In a heatproof cup, blend mustard powder, curry powder and flour with ½ cup of the liquid from the tomato mixture until smooth and combined. Return to the pan, stirring to combine. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes or until relish is glossy and has thickened slightly. Remove from heat.
  5. Carefully transfer mixture to hot sterilized jars. Leave 1/8 inch space at top, seal with lids and tighten when lids seal.