So far this season I have put up dill pickles, dill spears, dill stackers, bread and butter pickles, and zesty dill relish. Today, with a plethora of freshly picked cucumbers I decided to make a sweet pickle relish to add to my pantry pickle stash. Somewhat a newcomer to the world of canning I don’t yet have many go-to pickle recipes. So I flipped through my canning books and browsed the Net for recipes until I came up with something that caught my fancy.
Most all of the recipes called for the addition of red bell peppers. Sadly however, my garden has not yet offered up any of these gems for harvest and, with a packed schedule for the day, I didn’t want to go to the store to buy some. Instead I headed out to the garden to see exactly what I had to work with thinking I could adapt the recipe to my particular pepper situation. I found a few smallish green bell peppers and some Hungarian wax peppers. The pickings were a bit slim since I had recently pickled lots of the Hungarian wax peppers and dehydrated some of the bells. But happily it appeared I would have enough for the relish recipe. On a whim I decided to snatch a few jalapenos to add to the mix! What can I say? I like it hot!
The players for this recipe: cucumbers, sweet and hot peppers, onions, kosher salt, cider vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds. I didn’t end up needing all these gianormous cukes. I really like these cucumbers for pickling, but I don’t know that they are technically used for pickles or relish. I think the variety is called Green Dragon. I’ve had many grow as long as 15 or more inches and they don’t have an over abundance of seeds. I am not really sure what makes a cucumber good for pickling. Perhaps it’s the crunch factor. If you know please feel free to leave me a comment. To me a cucumber is good for pickling if: 1. It’s ripe. 2. We don’t need it fresh for salads, etc. Or 3. It might go to waste if not it doesn’t get pickled in a hurry!
I processed the peppers in the food processor. I ended up adding a total of 3 jalapeno peppers to the mix. I just cut off the stems, quartered them, and chopped them in the food processor. I didn’t even bother to remove the hottest part of the peppers, the seeds and veins! This should be interesting… (Be sure to use kitchen gloves when handling jalapenos or I promise you’ll be wishing you had!)
I also processed the cucumbers and onions with the food processor.
Once I had everything chopped up nice and dandy, I put all the veggies in a big bowl, covered with some ice water and mixed in the kosher salt. While this rested for a few hours I made some dill stackers with the rest of my harvested cukes and then took the kiddos to the dentist. What fun! (Well, at least it wasn’t my turn to go!)
When we returned I rinsed and strained the veggies really well. I used the back of a spoon to help remove most of the liquid.
We’re in the home stretch now!
The vinegar, water, sugar and seeds went into a big pot to boil.
Once this mixture was boiling I added the veggies to the pot.
I brought it back to a boil and was simmered for 10 minutes. Here’s what it looked like when it was done.
I ladled the relish into sterilized jars and processed for 10 minutes.
My mouth is watering as I think about trying this relish on a big juicy burger, mixed in with some deviled eggs (the jalapenos give the “devil” in deviled eggs a whole new meaning!), or some tartar sauce. I tasted a tiny sample of the cooked relish to make sure it wasn’t going to be a Chernobyl disaster of the mouth, but to my surprise it wasn’t too terribly hot. But I’ll have to wait a few weeks to let the flavor meld before I can make my final report. Until then I plan to experiment with new recipes and ingredients for whatever else my garden throws my way!
Sweet Heat Pickle Relish
Adapted from Donna Matthews recipe.
- 4 cups cucumbers, deseeded and chopped
- 2 cups onions, chopped
- 1 cup green bell peppers and & Hungarian wax peppers, chopped (Or 1 cup of any variety of mild peppers will do)
- 3 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
- Put all the vegetables in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the salt over the chopped vegetables.
- Cover with cold water and let stand for 2 hours.
- Drain vegetables well, then press out as much liquid as possible.
- In a large pot, combine sugar, vinegar and seeds.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add vegetables.
- Bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, put into pint jars according to standard canning procedures.
- (Note: Although some of the brine needs to go in the jars, I use a slotted spoon to keep it from being too soupy.).
- Process in a hot water bath according to your altitude (10 minutes for up 50 1000 ft.).