All-American Cucumber Relish Recipe

Fresh, tangy cucumber relish is the perfect summer condiment. Why not use up some garden produce to make it at home?

| July/August 2019

Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto

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


  1. Using a food processor, pulse the vegetables until finely chopped, or chop finely by hand.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters