All-American Cucumber Relish Recipe

Fresh, tangy cucumber relish is the perfect summer condiment.

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2 pints SERVINGS


  • 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

Sweet and Tangy Brine

  • 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
  • You can replace up to 1/2 cup of the water with brewed tea, apple cider, hard cider, beer, rum, whiskey, or bourbon.


  • 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.

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.

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.

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: 

Tamika Adjemian is a recipe developer and Master Food Preserver. Find her on Instagram @TamikaAdjemian. This is an excerpt from her new book, Pickled to Please.

Pickled to Please

If you’ve been considering canning your own pickled products, Pickled to Please is perfect for you. Author Tamika Adjemian has put together a well-rounded collection of methods and recipes for your first foray into canning that will make it easier than ever. Intended for new and experienced home canners, this book covers food preservation methods, safety information, and teaches the “mix and match” approach that demonstrates the easy way to swap out seasonings and spices, vinegars and brines, and fruits and vegetables. Every cook will relish the tips in this cookbook, as Adjemian encourages experimentation with different flavors and combinations to find the perfect pickle. After you’ve mastered the art of pickling, the recipes included will help turn the ordinary into delicious at every meal!