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Perfect for an over-abundance of garden-fresh cucumbers, this recipe doesn’t call for anything fussy at all. The result is the simple, classic flavors of a sweet vinegary relish.
- 1 pound pickling cucumbers, scrubbed
- 1 small red pepper, stem and seeds removed
- 1 small onion, peeled
- Sweet and Tangy Brine recipe (below)
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Relish Spice Mix (below), toasted in a small skillet
- Using a food processor, pulse the vegetables until finely chopped, or chop finely by hand.
- Place vegetable mixture in a medium-sized stainless steel pot with the prepared brine and spice mix, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until liquid begins to cook down, stirring occasionally.
- Using a canning funnel, spoon the relish into hot, clean jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles by running a chopstick or butter knife down the inside of the jars several times. Wipe the jar rims, and apply the lids and rings. Process in a water bath canner or steam canner for 15 minutes. Cool and check lids’ seals.
Yields 2 pints.
Sweet and Tangy Brine Recipe
Brines have an optimal balance of acids to keep preserved pickles safe while also preventing the sourness from overpowering the fresh produce and seasonings. Use a vinegar of at least 5 percent acidity. If you like a stronger tang, replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with more vinegar. If you prefer less of a bite to your pickle, you can safely add a sweetener; start with 1 to 2 tablespoons to take the edge off. To prepare this brine, simply bring the ingredients to a simmer before use. It makes enough brine for one quart jar or two pint jars.
You can replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with brewed tea, apple cider, hard cider, beer, rum, whiskey, or bourbon.
- 1-1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, white or brown
- Basic pickling spice, fresh ginger, fresh herbs, fresh turmeric, garlic, hot peppers, onion, and/or relish spice, to taste
Relish Spice Mix
Freshly made spice blends allow you to experience the way each individual spice mingles with the rest to create a particular flavor. Because pickling means you’re trapping produce in jars long-term to absorb brine, you should use the best spices and herbs available. This recipe yields about 1 cup. Simply combine all the spices in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.
- 1/2 cup mustard seeds (all yellow, or a combination of yellow and brown)
- 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons dry mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
For more unique pickling recipes, see:
- Perfectly Piquant Pickles
- Maple Bread & Butter Cucumbers
- Pearl Onion Pickles
- Bread & Butter Tomatoes
- Classic Vinegar-Brined Cucumber Pickles