Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Canning Sweet Relish

We've been enjoying this sweet relish for years. Most barbecues at our house include a jar of this delectable condiment and it's just not the same without it. We also love this sweet relish on sandwiches, it really sends them over the top. If you've never had a home canned sweet relish in your life you are missing out. Don't even bother with the store junk because it doesn't even stand a chance of comparison. And guess what else is so awesome about this recipe? You can make it with either cucumbers OR zucchini! That's right zucchini. And we've made it both ways and there really isn't a lot of difference in the final product. It's just. Plain. Awesome.

Oh and look at these jars. Aren't they stunningly beautiful? There's something just gorgeous about jars of home canned anything.

Aren't they beautiful?
Before I share the recipe let me just remind you that if you're new to canning, please read over the points from the canning introduction post that I posted a few years ago (and was newly updated just today!) before you begin. Canning unlike cooking requires a bit more scientific precision. Don't change the amounts or cooking times. Spices can be added or taken out to your liking.

First a few tips for relish canning success:

  • Always use good quality produce. Freshly picked is always best and will give you the most nutrition bang-for-your-buck. For best results, use cucumbers or zucchini that are small and tender (not those giants that have gotten away from you). 
  • Be especially careful for this recipe that your jars don't tip once you put them in the water bath canner. If they do, simple pull them out and wipe the rims again and carefully place them back in the canner. This recipe contains tiny seeds that may get caught under the seals of the lids causing them not to seal. If this happens, the contents of the jars can either be reprocessed or you can stick the jar in the refrigerator to be used within a few weeks.

Sweet Pickle Relish
Printable Recipe

*Makes 6-8 pints

*Note: For safety, do not change the quantities any of the ingredients.

1 Quart chopped cucumbers or zucchini (about 4 medium)
2 Cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)
1 Cup chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 medium)
1 Cup chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 medium)
1/4 Cup salt
3-1/2 Cups sugar
1 Tablespoon celery seed
1 Tablespoon mustard seed
2 Cups cider vinegar

Combine cucumbers or zucchini, onions, green and red peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine sugar, spices and vinegar in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add drained vegetables; simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims clean. Adjust lids and process according to times below (based on your current elevation).

*Note: For best success, make sure your jars do not tip once they are placed in the water bath canner. I've noticed that tipping can often cause the little seeds to find their way under the jar lids, making it so that the jars don't seal.

Processing Times:
10 min (0-1,000 ft) 15 min (1,001-3,000 ft)
20 min (3,001-6,000 ft) 25 min (6,001-8,000 ft)
30 min (8,000-10,000 ft)

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Ball Blue Book of Preserving

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