In The Pickled Pantry (Storey, 2012), author Andrea Chesman offers a guide to pickling that features recipes for everything from crisp cucumbers to carrots, rhubarb, cabbage and pineapple. In this excerpt from chapter 5, “Salsas, Relishes and Chutneys,” Chesman shares a classic sweet pickle relish recipe for a condiment that goes well with everything from barbecued meat to grilled cheese.
Classic Sweet Pickle Relish Recipe
makes 7 to 8 half-pints
What doesn’t go well with a sweet pickle relish? It makes a great pairing with such homey favorites as hot dogs, barbecued meat on buns, grilled cheese, crackers and cheese, cold-cut sandwiches, and tuna fish salad. A spoonful or two added to my Sweet Pickle Macaroni Salad makes an all-American classic.
4 cups finely chopped cucumbers
2 cups finely chopped onions
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup pickling or fine sea salt
2 cups cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1. Combine the cucumbers, onions, and green and red bell peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss well to mix. Cover with cold water. Let stand for at least 2 hours, and up to 6 hours. Drain well, pressing out the excess liquid.
2. Combine the cider vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, and mustard seeds in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Pack into clean hot half-pint canning jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles and seal.
4. Process in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes, according to the directions on page 31. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place. Do not open for at least 6 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.
Anything goes in a relish. If your cucumbers are somewhat overripe, just cut each in half lengthwise and scrape away the seeds before chopping. You can use either salad cucumbers or pickling cucumbers—or both—for a relish. The texture will be crunchier with pickling cucumbers because they have a greater ratio of skin to flesh, but the difference will be small.
Excerpted from The Pickled Pantry © by Andrea Chesman; used with permission from Storey Publishing.
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