Need help with relish recipe -- can I use a slow cooker?
Last time I cooked my Uncle's fabulous Tomato & Onion relish, I burned it :(
His recipe calls for the following:
"Bring to boil and boil uncovered 75 - 80 mins, stirring frequently to prevent mixture from catching.
Cooking time is important: too little and it’s runny and yucky, too much and it’s a little dry. But err on the side of more cooking than less, but the max should be no more than 90 mins."
Well, the stuff is positively volcanic and difficult to stir, especially towards the end.
So, I am wondering if anyone has any experience with cooking relish -- or even jams or fruit preserves -- in a slow cooker and how long would I cook it for in order to gain the same result?!
Thanks in advance!
Use a candy thermometer. Making relish, or tomato jam is similar to making a syrup. The boiling point will change as the water level goes down. For a long time it should hover around 212F until most of the water has evaporated out. Then it will start to creep up. You need to hit at least 220F for it to set. For a thicker jam, you can go to the "thread stage" 230F but be sure to stop before "soft ball" 235F because then you'll have tomato onion toffee (which could be pretty cool actually...)
Make sure that once the temp passes that magic 212F threshold you watch it pretty closely. Put it on a really gentle heat, stir it alot and instead of worrying about time, just keep your eye on the thermometer.
I don't have the experience to give a direct answer, but I can tell you that I have (and still do) make cranberry relish in my crockpot. I cook the fresh berries, juice, and spices on low for 6 hours, then on high with the cover off for the last 90 minutes to "thicken" it. I think you'd need to experiment a little. Good luck with the relish---it sounds delicious!