Friday, August 29, 2008


I mentioned a while back that I grew up eating homemade relish on burgers and hot dogs and that I really hated the taste of the neon green store bought relishes. Well since this is the time of year to get fresh local cucumbers, I thought I would share my moms recipe for "Sweet Pickle Relish" I've divided the original recipe in four, as the original made about 12-13 pints which was WAY too much for me. I grind the veggies in the food processor. I just made 1 1/2 recipes of this over Thursday and Friday of last week and got 5 pints. All 5 lids "popped" within 90 minutes but it can take several hours.

Sweet Pickle RELISH
6 Long English/burp-less cucumbers 
2 medium onions 
2 medium red bell peppers
1 large green bell pepper
Scrub the cucumbers and trim off ends - do NOT peel unless skin is damaged. Slit lengthwise and remove seeded area by scraping gently with a spoon. Use the grater blade on your food processor to grate the cucumber. You should have about 6-7 cups.

Peel the onions and cut in small pieces. Place in food processor and use the pulse setting to grind to a finely minced consistency. You should have about 1 1 1/4 cups.

Wash, cut and seed the peppers. Cut into small pieces. Place in the food processor and use the pulse setting to grind to a finely minced consistency. You should have about 2/3 - 3/4cup of red pepper and about 1/2 - 2/3 cup of green pepper.
Combine the veggies in a dutch oven, large pot or crock and cover with a brine made with;
1/4 cup pickling salt (aka coarse salt)
8 cups water (I prefer using water that has gone through a filter system such as Britta)
Stir well. Cover and let stand overnight (or up to 24 hours) at room temperature.

Drain WELL - use a colander! (I use a rubber scraper to press the pulp against the sides of the colander to remove much of the liquid) You will have about 5 cups of pulp.

In a dutch oven combine the following ingredients for a cooking brine;
1 cup white vinegar
2 1/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons tumeric
1 1/2 teaspoons celery seed
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
1/8 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)

Mix well, then stir in the veggie pulp. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove 2-3 Tablespoons liquid and mix with 4-5 teaspoons all purpose flour. Whisk till all the flour is dissolved. Slowly add the flour mixture back into the relish while stirring constantly till fully mixed in. Cook relish on medium heat until thickened, stirring occasionally - about 20-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sterilize 4 pint jars, lids and rings in a (gently boiling) hot water bath in a canner for 10-15 minutes. Remove carefully, with jar tongs, 2-3 minutes before filling with hot relish. Allow the jars to drain upside down on a drain rack, so there is no liquid in the jars. Add more water to the hot water bath and bring to a boil so it is ready for the sealed jars.

Carefully add the hot relish to the pint jars, leaving about a 1/2 inch space at the top. Wipe the mouth of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place lids and tighten the rings. Stand the jars upright in the canner's basket and carefully lower it into the boiling water. Do NOT allow the jars to tip over. The water should be covering the lids. Remove the basket carefully after 10 minutes. Allow the jars to stand on a wire rack for 24 hours to allow the relish to completely cool to room temperature. The jar lids should also "pop" (indent) during that time. That indicates that the jar is properly sealed.
Relish will keep for up to 3 years in a cool, dark, dry place. Store opened/unsealed jars in the refrigerator.

NOTE: Depending on the size of the veggies, your finished quantity will vary from 3 to about 3 1/2 pints. A partially filled jar will go into the fridge to be used first. I only process the full jars.



No comments: