Last summer I was visiting a dear friend in her home. She told me she had canned some pickle relish, using shredded zucchini from her garden. Then she gave me not one, but TWO pint jars of her homemade zucchini relish to take home.
I was too embarrassed to tell her that I don’t even LIKE pickle relish, so I thanked her (graciously, of course!), and took them home to occupy a spot in our pantry. My thought was… I don’t eat hot dogs that often, and I don’t use it in my potato salad, so what was I supposed to do with TWO jars of the stuff? I figured I could always put it out with the condiments at a bar-b-que or something…I ultimately cracked open a jar (my curiosity got the best of me), and tried it on a grilled hot dog, and guess what? I LOVED it… (insert rolling of the eyes here). WHO KNEW?
Fast forward…It’s almost a year later… and those 2 jars of relish are long gone. Used up over the past year… it’s a Christmas Miracle! (perhaps my taste buds changed?) So I told (more like “confessed”) my friend the WHOLE story of my initial reaction to her kind gift (truth-telling,from start to finish) and asked her for the recipe. Ha Ha. We had a good laugh over it. She was kind enough to give it to me, just as she received the recipe from her Mom. I decided to make some for our pantry (you know… just in case there’s a world-wide pickle relish shortage!!!!!!); I cut the recipe in half, and it made 2 pint jars and one half-pint jar… which should last us for awhile. The recipe I’m posting is for the whole amount, and it makes between 5-6 pint jars of zucchini relish. So for all you relish lovers out there, here is a great relish for your hot dogs or hamburgers or potato salad, AND a great way to use up some of the zucchini that will overrun your garden this year! I’m glad I learned how to make my own (even if you don’t “can”, you can always keep one jar in the refrigerator for immediate use, and give a jar to a friend to do the same with…heh, heh, heh!)
Here’s how you make it (it’s easy!):
You start with shredded zucchini. Mix in diced onion, green pepper (I even snuck in a bit of red pepper), and salt. Let the mixture sit (covered) for 24 hours. The salt helps draw out liquid from the zucchini. Drain well, and rinse with cold water. Drain once more.
After draining zucchini mixture, add it to the rest of the ingredients in a large stock pot, stir well to combine, and bring mixture to a boil. Cook it for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Ladle relish into hot, sterilized canning jars (following basic canning guidelines), leaving 1/2″ headspace, and process in a boiling hot water bath for 15 minutes.
Remove jars from canner and listen for that wonderful “ping” sound, indicating the jars have sealed properly. Let the jars sit on counter for 24 hours, then store in pantry.
Even if you don’t “can” food, you can always make this recipe, let the relish cool completely, then place it in jars (which will need to be kept refrigerated), and give one to a relish-loving friend or two… (never thought I’d ever say that!). And… enjoy your hot dogs or hamburgers this summer, with this tasty relish on them (of course!).
Recipe Source: Debbie Stephens (and her Mom)
- 10 cups shredded zucchini (seeds scooped out and discarded)
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 green pepper, finely diced (I even used a bit of red pepper!)
- 5 Tablespoons canning salt
- 2¼ cups vinegar
- 6 cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 Tablespoon dry mustard powder
- 1 Tablespoon turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon corn starch
- 1 Tablespoon celery seed
- In a large bowl, mix together the shredded zucchini, onion, green pepper, and salt. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let sit for 24 hours (this draws out liquid from zucchini).
- Drain zucchini mixture; rinse well with cold water, then drain completely again.
- Place the drained zucchini mixture into a large stockpot. Add the vinegar, sugar, black pepper, nutmeg, dry mustard, turmeric, corn starch, and celery seed. Stir to mix well.
- Bring to a boil. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Ladle hot relish into canning jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim of jar, adjust two piece lids.
- Process jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Remove to a towel to cool. Make sure jars seal, then let sit for 24 hours before moving to pantry.
Also, note that the long prep time is the time allotted for zucchini/pepper/onion/salt mixture to soak overnight.
If canning this in half-pint jars, they only need to process for 10 minutes.