Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tamarillo and Mustard Relish

We have tamarillos growing in our back yard. They used to be called 'tree tomatoes' but the name was changed to tamarillos to avoid confusion with people thinking they were tomatoes even though they are a relative of the tomato, potato, eggplant and capsicum pepper.

You can read more about the history of the tamarillo here. They were introduced into New Zealand from Asia in the late 1800s and are grown commercially on a large scale there but on a smaller scale here in Australia.

I have just been reading about how to grow tamarillos in Australia and our growing conditions don't match those which are required so I guess we are fortunate to have any growing at all. Our tree is very neglected and the only water it gets is from rainfall which has been quite lacking here in SE Queensland since the start of winter. The red and yellow tamarillos seem to be the most common and we have the yellow fruit here.

You can just slice the fruit and scoop out the flesh with a spoon but don't eat the skin. I have been meaning to make some Tamarillo Relish for some time and found some recipes on this Kiwi website and picked out Tamarillo and Mustard Relish.

Tamarillo and Mustard Relish

  • 600g Tamarillos (6-7 fruit) 
  • 100g Onions (1 small)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 200g White sugar
  • 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried mustard
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and add the tamarillos.
  2. Return to the boil, count to 20, then drain, cool and peel.
  3. Slice the fruit and put into a large, heavy saucepan.
  4. Finely dice the onion and add with all the remaining ingredients.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer, stirring frequently, for about an hour until the fruit is very tender.
  6. Add more water if it is too thick or cook longer if it is too thin.
Sterilise 3 medium jars and lids, spoon in the relish and close the lids.


Now to find out what I did wrong. I know that there are lots of clever people out there who read my blog who are really experienced at preserving food so I need your advice. When I put the tamarillos into the boiling water it seemed to take ages before the water came back to the boil and after it did and I counted to 20 and took them out to cool, they were really, really soft and almost mashed. So I was unable to 'slice' the fruit as the recipe indicated. Would this fact have been the difference between only having enough mixture to almost fill one bottle instead of three bottles?
Also I tried not to use a recipe that had a lot of salt as we are trying to cut down on salt and sugar as well for that matter but the recipe still called for 200g sugar. Would the lack of salt mean that the relish has to be relegated to the fridge instead of storing it in a cupboard? Mind you, I don't think it will last long as hubby ate the dregs from the saucepan and said it tasted great!
I would appreciate your input before I make another batch as I know there are lots of experienced relish makers out there. :-) Don't be shy!





  1. Since I've never even heard of a tamarillo before - I will guess! On a tomato I drop them in boiling water leave for a minute (without bringing back to a boil) and then drop them in cold water and the skins practically slide off! I'm assuming that is the reason for the process. That could be the reason you ended up with less - just don't know enough about the fruit itself. As far as the salt goes you should be fine with less salt as long as your jar is sealed. The key here will be your vinegar content and it is high enough to perform the preservative function for you. This looks like a yummy relish and I am impressed that you tried this. It is always nice to make something hubby likes as well, mine will put up with many strange smells and my jar saving if he knows there's a jar of salsa or the like coming too!

  2. Thanks Kathy, I thought someone from the US would know as you girls are so experienced with preserving. The skin of the tamarillo would be tougher than a tomato and next time I won't leave them in the boiling water as long. The bottle of relish I made is in the fridge but we don't have a lot of room in there so if I make another batch I would like to just put them in the pantry.


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