My small plot in my community garden is producing large amounts of cucumbers and bell peppers right now – yours too? I have plenty of recipes for fresh uses but what also comes to mind is Classic Cucumber Relish. I particularly like this simple recipe, adapted from Liana Krissoff’s in Canning for a New Generation.
Relish is not something I use huge amounts of during the year, so I cut the recipe in half. FYI, cutting in half is safe for most pickling recipes but not recommended to cut any further as the acid ratio (the vinegar) to veggies could be skewed. I also put up other kinds of relishes during the summer – like yummy Vidalia Onion Relish, recipe here - so my pantry has more variety than a lot of one kind.
A few modifications of Krissoff’s recipe: I’m not fond of celery seeds so I omitted them. And I don’t like the sweetness that’s found in many recipes. Here I cut the 1 1/4 cups of sugar down to 3/4 cups. I still think you need some sugar to balance the vinegar. And another note: it is recommended to add more or less sugar to a pickling liquid to suit your taste, but never cut the amount of vinegar – again, that could skew the acid ratio. And I packed some in the small 4 oz jars as well as the half-pint jars to use as needed.
Besides the usual uses for relishes like hamburgers and hotdogs, I like this on beans such as cannellini and red beans or lentils for a quick lunch or hearty side dish. It’s also good with goat cheese on toast or crostini for a snack or lunch. Enjoy!
Classic Cucumber Relish
Adapted from Canning for a New Generation, by Laura Krissoff
Makes about 6 half-pint jars
1 pound cucumbers
6 ounces celery
1 medium bell pepper, cored and seeded
1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar (5% acidity)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
Chop all vegetables to a fine chop (or, optionally, process in a food processor to a fine chop). Combine in a bowl with salt. Set aside for 4 hours.
Drain veggies through a sieve and press out as much liquid as possible. In a large, wide stockpot or deep skillet, combine sugar, vinegar, and mustard seeds. Bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add veggies and bring back to a boil. Then lower heat and simmer, stirring regularly for 10 minutes.
Remove jars from canner and fill with the hot relish, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars, place lid and band. Place filled jars in canner, making sure jars are topped by at least 1 inch of water. Bring water back to a boil, then time for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove jars to a heat-proof surface. After 1 hour, test lids and place any unsealed jars in refrigerator. Let remaing jars cool undisturbed for 12 hours, label and date. Store in cool, dark area.
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