Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sweet Pickle Relish

Last fall, after an online conversation about HFCS, I took a look at all the condiments in my fridge to see which ones had any.

Since I do most of my cooking from scratch, I wasn't worried about what I'd find, but I was curious. Out of everything, the only items I found that listed HFCS on the label were ketchup and sweet pickle relish.

Well, okay, I don't use either one excessively, but I figured I'd give homemade versions a try. My attempt at ketchup ended up tasting more like barbecue sauce. So that's still a work in progress.

But I was pretty happy with the pickle relish. I actually like it better than the commercial stuff.

Sweet Pickle Relish
Adapted from the "Ball Blue Book of Preserving"
Makes 8 half-pints of relish.

1 quart chopped cucmbers (I used picking cukes. If you use garden cukes with big seeds, seed them first. If they're supermarket cukes with thick nasty waxed skins, peel them,)
2 cups chopped onion
2 cups chopped bell peppers (the recipe calls for 1 cup each of red and green. I used mostly green)
1/4 cup salt
3 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon mustard seed
2 cups cider vinegar

Combine all the chopped veggies in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and cover with cold water. Let it stand for two hours, then drain, rinse, and drain well. Taste for salt level. If it's too salty, rinse and drain again.

Combine the rest of the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then add the drained veggies. Simmer for ten minutes.

Pack the hot relish into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Removed air bubbles in relish and adjust headspace if necessary.

Adjust the caps and process for 10 minutes. (For information about processing home-canned goods in a biling water canner, see my Water Bath Canning post.