Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sweet Pickle Relish

I'm crazy about sweet pickle relish. I use it a lot -- for sandwiches, potato salad, deviled eggs, but mostly, I love it on a good burger or a grilled hot dog. I decided to make my own this week. Here's what I came up with. I think it turned out pretty good, but you'll have to make your own and see for yourself. Be warned, canning relish is labor intensive. Read through the entire recipe before you begin.

Chopping note: I hate to chop, so I use my handy-dandy food processor for this job. I put each individual vegetable in my food processor and carefully pulse so that I didn't over chop and turn the vegetables to mush. Don't try to add all the vegetables at once, or that's exactly what will happen -- mush.

3 pounds English cucumbers, finely diced (I use English because they have less seeds and the outside has not been waxed by the grocery store)
1 sweet onion finely diced
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I buy the kind in a pepper mill so they are ground very fine. If you don't have one, chop these up.)

In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the cucumbers, onion, and bell peppers. Pour the salt over the cucumber mixture, add enough cold water to cover, and stir gently to mix. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours or up to 1 day. (I left my overnight.)

Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids.

Drain the cucumber mixture in a colander. Rinse thoroughly and drain the cucumber mix two more times. Transfer the drained cucumber mixture to a large nonreactive saucepan and add the sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes.

Place the allspice on a square of cheesecloth. Bring the corners together and tie securely with kitchen string. Add the cheesecloth bag to the cucumber mixture and stir to mix well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Discard the cheesecloth bag.

Ladle the hot relish into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Remove any air bubbles with a teaspoon, and wipe the rim off the jar clean. Place the metal seal on top of the jar and seal tightly with the metal ring.

Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If your seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

For details on the proper way to water-bath can, click here.

Makes 5 to 6 one-pint jars.