The zucchini is going gangbusters and so it's time get out my favorite zucchini relish recipe. Quite a few years ago, my amazing sister, Cathy, introduced me to the wonders of zucchini relish and I have been making it every summer since then. Zucchini relish is one of the best ways to use up extra zucchini and it's as easy to make as jam. If you regularly enjoy water bath canning homemade jams, then you will want to add this easy, versatile relish to your pantry as well.
While homemade zucchini relish is wonderful as a spread on sandwiches and hot dogs, it is also the secret ingredient that enhances many other recipes. For example, we use our homemade zucchini relish when we make thousand island dressing, tarter sauce, potato salad, egg salad sandwiches and tuna sandwiches.
Once you experience the sweet and zesty flavor of homemade zucchini relish, you will be spoiled forever and won't be able to tolerate commercial relish.
My favorite zucchini relish recipe comes from Old World Garden Farms, but of course I've altered it slightly. Below is my version, which has a slightly thicker and less watery consistency for better spread:
10 cups zucchini, grated
3 cups onions, grated
2 red bell peppers, grated
6 tablespoons canning salt
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons Clear Jel (cook type, here's where we get ours from Hoosier Hill Farm)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon celery seed
3 cups white vinegar
- Grate the zucchini, onions and peppers in a food processor. Place in a large bowl and add the 6 tablespoons of salt. Mix well, then cover and let sit on the counter at room temperature for 8-10 hours. This step helps remove the moisture from the vegetables prior to canning.
- Rinse the grated vegetables well using a fine mesh strainer to remove as much of the salt as possible. Then press the vegetables down firmly in the strainer with your hands or the back of a spoon to wring out as much of the water as possible. Do this step with only 1-2 cups of the vegetables at a time. As the vegetables are wrung out, put them into a large stockpot.
- In a big bowl, mix together the sugar, Clear Jel and spices using a whisk until thoroughly combined. Once mixed, add these dry ingredients to the stockpot. Then add the vinegar and stir well. (NOTE: Clear Jel must be mixed with dry ingredients before being mixed with wet ingredients.)
- Bring the mixture to a boil on the stove, and then turn the burner to a lower setting and keep at a low boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place in sterilized jars with 1/2 inch head space. Process according to water bath canning methods for 15 minutes (adjust for altitude as necessary).
Makes about 10 half pints.
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