Summer time is the ultimate cook out season, there’s hot dogs, burgers and sausages galore. Grilling foods is ideal, its hot and although many people would not find relish to be a necessity in my house it absolutely is. Some people would be happy enough simply grabbing some relish off the market shelf or if their lucky grab some at a farmers market. In my home store bought relish is just not an option, have you ever thought of relish as refreshing and beautiful? I do, because I make it at home. Its another pantry staple that I find to be a to-die-for pantry necessity, but then again I’ve been spoiled most of my life with this recipe. It’s been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember, my Dad would give me jars of homemade relish and strawberry jam in care packages. I would literally eat this relish with a spoon. Its the ultimate representation of whats so perfect about summer. Its light, crisp, colorfully green, sour, sweet and perfect. Homemade pickle relish is my favorite item at any family barbecue.
Its a fairly straight forward process, you chop your cucumbers and let them soak overnight. The next day simply mix, simmer and place in jars. Its a wonderful way to control the quality of food you have around, its preserving produce you have and its a real treat that is truly rewarding. You try this recipe once and I promise you will never want to buy another jar of store bought relish ever again.
Much like many of my canning recipes I have a tendency to alter the original recipe. I change things based on what produce is fresh and cheap or whatever it is I actually have in my house at the time. Following is the original recipe that I try my best to follow however this year I used two red peppers, and one red onion… because I was at the market two days in a row and was NOT about to drive an hour to get some onions and a pepper. It is a little different than usual, I think I really do miss the extra onion, but its still a light year away from anything you don’t make yourself.
- 8 large cucumbers, chopped
- 1/3 cup pickling salt
- 3 onions (3 large or 6 medium)
- 1 large red pepper, chopped
- 1 large green pepper , chopped
- 6 cups white vinegar
- 7 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons turmeric
- 4 teaspoons mustard seed
- 3 teaspoons celery seed
In a large crock or stock pot place the chopped cucumbers. (just the cucumbers) To chop all of the vegetables you will want to use a food processor if available. Pulse about 8 times, do not over chop or you will puree the vegetables into a mess. I don’t mind larger chunks here and there but ideally the pieces should be somewhat uniform in size so that they will spread smoothly onto whatever your serving it with.
Cover the cucumbers with ice and the pickling salt. Allow to rest overnight or about 8 hours. This will pull excess moisture from the cucumbers. Drain the cucumbers, and chop up the peppers and onion. Combine them all together. In a separate pot combine vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed and celery seed. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour mixture over top of the cucumber, pepper and onion mixture. (you may want to re-drain the vegetables so that your relish is not too diluted)
Place into sterile jars, you can use a slotted spoon to fill the jars and fill the jars the rest of the way with liquid. Leave 1/4″ air space, clean the rims, place on the rings and lids and process in a water bath or pressure canner according to manufactures directions for your altitude and jar size.