Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Canning Sweet Relish

This is my first year canning relish.  I don't normally buy relish but, recently, I've been working on a copy-cat recipe for Big Mac Sauce.  I used to love Big Macs but we quit eating fast food over a decade ago...so...I'm working on memory!  In the process of creating my sauce, I bought both sweet and dill relish and found out that my boys like them both.  However, when I read the ingredients I cringed.  Lots of yucky stuff!

I decided to try canning my own relishes this year.  I started with a recipe in one of my canning books.  I made a small amount and thought I could come up with something my boys might like better. I created my own recipe for sweet relish and ran it by my main "relish eating" son.  Once I got his approval, I canned it.

Here's the recipe I ended up creating myself:

Sweet Relish

7 cups chopped cucumbers
1 large red bell pepper chopped
1/4 cup canning salt
Cold water
3 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 tblsp. celery seed
1 tblsp. mustard seed

Remove both ends of the cucumber. Chop the cucumber and red pepper. (I used a food processor and pulsed several times.) You want small pieces but not a puree. Place chopped cucumbers and red pepper in a large bowl and mix well. Sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours.

Drain thoroughly and press out excess liquid.  Combine sugar, vinegar and spices. Heat to boiling.  Add drained cucumber mix and simmer 10 minutes.

Pack hot..into hot half-pint jars. 
Leave 1/2 inch head space. 
Remove air bubbles.  
Wipe jar rims. 
Adjust lids. 
Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

And here's the results, I'm really pleased and can mark one more thing off my shopping list.

This recipe is really good.  My mama says she is eating it with a spoon. Seriously.  

She can't wait to try it on beans with cornbread.  I think my Green Tomato Relish is better for that.

I'm trying to be more organized in my canning efforts this year.  I can a lot but I haven't kept good track of what we run out of and what surplus we end up with.  I've been reading a lot about canning and have really had my eyes opened about this possibility of food storage.

I'm keeping an organized list of everything I can this year and what dates I put it up. I'll keep records of when we run out which will let me know next year if I need to can more or less.  It will also help me plan our garden next year - what do I need to plant more of or less of.  I am hoping this will make me more efficient in my attempts to save money and provide quality food for my family.

I've also decided to can more ordinary things.  For instance, I make a lot of soups and stews.  I typically fill a huge crock pot and end up freezing the leftovers for another time.  No more!  Now I will be canning the leftovers.  Why did I not think of this before?  Less freezer space, no worries if we loose electricity and my boys can open a jar and have a quick and easy dinner when I'm not here.

I'm also trying to collect all of my favorite canning recipes into one binder.  This makes things easier to find.  I'm also making notes on my recipes about how many batches I typically make.  This will also help me be more efficient next year.

I'm very thankful for the bounty of our garden this year.  It's been a really weird year weather wise so far but our garden has continued to produce.  We praise our Father who has been so gracious to us despite the challenges!

What are y'all canning now?


  1. Cheri, a tip someone gave me that worked like a charm is to take your cukes, peppers, what ever you put in your relish and run them through your meat grinder. Just perfect in size. :)

  2. Marci,
    I'd heard that too - but I think the food processor would be easier - about 8 pulses did it :)

  3. Cheri,
    We are going to have a bumper crop of tomatilloes this year. I know they can be frozen with the husks (I'll be doing that), but I'm looking for a non-sweet salsa type recipe to can up. Do you have a good one? There's only one recipe in the Blue Book and we didn't think it was "great".

    Any ideas would be very appreciated!

  4. Debbie,
    I've never found a "canned" Salsa that I like after canning. I'll share what I do to have delicious salsa all year long!


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