How to Make Homemade Old Fashioned Relish ~ I say old fashioned, but of course this homemade pickle relish has been Great Island-ized with some hot peppers, and a little bit of extra spice. You’re going to love it, and it’s so easy!
I know everybody’s grilling this weekend, and thinking about burgers, and pasta salads, and maybe a pie or two. But don’t forget that you can’t have a great barbecue without great condiments! And there is something so satisfying about making your own. You’ll see humble old fashioned relish in a whole new light when you chop fresh cucumbers yourself, and brew up your own zesty pickling juice. This completes my set of homemade classic condiments, I’ve made KETCHUP, HOT SWEET AND SPICY MUSTARD, 30-SECOND MAYO, and now this Old Fashioned Relish.
The process for this relish was a little bit different from anything I’ve done before. After finely mincing the pickles, which I did in the food processor, they soak for 4 hours in a salted ice water brine. They get drained, then soak in more water for another hour. Apparently this helps them maintain their crunch. After the soaks, I added a good bit of minced onion and green bell peppers, along with a jalapeno to the mix. A food processor comes in handy for the fine chopping, but I think it would be fun to play around with a chunky style relish, too, in which case you could use a good knife and cut everything a little bigger.
The flavor comes from the pickling solution, which is vinegar, sugar, and spices. You’ll bring it just to a boil and then pour it over the veggies. You’ll recognize the characteristic sweet/acid quality of relish the minute you get a whiff of the mixture on the stove, that’s when I really got excited.
I loosely based my method on one from pickyourown.org, a great site for all things having to do with seasonal fruits and veggies.
- 1 lb small pickling cucumbers
- 1/2 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 medium white onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1-2 jalapeno peppers
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp cloves
- 1 Tbsp allspice berries
- 1 Tbsp yellow mustard seeds
- 1 Tbsp whole coriander
- Wash and slice the ends off the cucumbers. Give them a rough chop and put them in a food processor. Pulse until the pickles are finely chopped. Remove to a bowl.
- Cover the chopped pickles with cold ice water and stir in the salt. Let sit for 4 hours. Replace ice as necessary.
- Drain the pickles and then cover with fresh water. Let sit for another hour.
- Give the onion a rough chop and then pulse it in the food processor until finely minced. Do the same for the green pepper, and the jalapeno. Do each separately, otherwise you won't get an even chop.
- Drain the pickles well, and add the onions, and peppers. Mix well.
- In a small saucepan, add the sugar and vinegar and stir to combine. Tie up the cloves and allspice berries in a little cheesecloth so you can retrieve them later. I forgot to do this and just fished them out at the end. Add the mustard seeds and coriander pods directly to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn off the heat.
- Pour the hot liquid over the veggies. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Remove the cloves and allspice. Now you are ready to pour your relish in jars. You can can it if you like, but if you keep this small batch in the refrigerator it will stay good for at least a month. Spoon it into clean jars, and cap tightly. Your relish is ready to eat!
Smaller pickling cucumbers are best for relish, they have less water and seeds than regular cucumbers.
I was never particularly a relish lover, in fact I don’t usually stock any in my refrigerator, but with this homemade stuff, I’m looking for ways to eat it up, it’s fantastic. I highly recommend giving this one a try, it wasn’t hard and the payoff is so worth it…if you’re looking for me this weekend, I’ll be the one with a grilled Adelles’s chicken apple sausage on a toasted potato bun, with lots of mustard and a big pile of this relish… !
Check back all next week, starting tomorrow, for my week of popsicles —
new recipes every day, (and giveaways!) it’s going to be lots of fun!