What do you do with your garden surplus? Gardeners know that when you plant a garden – while fresh veggies are delicious – a garden can often produce more than what one can eat on a day-to-day basis. In my case I end up with baskets of veggies all over my kitchen, counters topped with veggies, and my fridge jammed packed with veggies too! Oh my, this is my typical garden dilemma, every summer I end up with more veggies than my family can eat.
So, what can you do you with all of these extra veggies? I usually turn to canning them into some new creation. This year I combined zucchini, cucumbers and peppers to make a delicious Sweet Spicy Relish. The relish turned out really good, not too spicy and just the right amount of sweetness.
Sweet Spicy Zucchini Pickle Relish is a nice addition to potato salad, macaroni salad and tartar sauce. It will add the right amount of zesty flavor to your salad dressing recipes. The recipe yields 28 pints, and, if that is too much, simply half the ingredients to make 14 pints. After all, you do want to make some kind of dent in your veggie surplus, right!
I used my food processor to chop all the vegetables in this recipe, and I used the large blue canner to cook the relish. Your local grocer or hardware store should have all your canning supplies, such as canners, canning salt, jars, lids and rings. Give this recipe a try. Making relish is pretty easy, it only takes a bit of time that will be well worth it this winter, long after your garden is gone.
Sweet Spicy Zucchini Pickle Relish canned and ready for the pantry.
Fresh sweet peppers of all colors add beautiful color and flavor to your relish. You can use any combination of sweet green, red, yellow or orange peppers.
Sweet Spicy Zucchini Pickle Relish
Yields 28 pints.
22 cups finely chopped zucchini
22 cups finely chopped cucumbers
8 cups finely chopped onions
16 cups finely chopped sweet peppers (half the peppers were red and orange)
1 cup finely chopped hot peppers (if you would rather not have spicy relish, use an additional cup of sweet peppers)
44 tablespoons canning salt
8 to 10 cups water
14 cups sugar
14 cups apple cider vinegar
8 tablespoons celery seed
8 tablespoons mustard seed
Finely chop up all vegetables using food processor or manual chopper. Cut zucchini and cucumbers into medium-size chunks before adding to food processor. You want the food processor to chop veggies fine, but not too fine, and cutting larger veggies into chunks will allow the food processor to chop them more evenly.
Chopped zucchini was finely chopped by food processor.
Scoop out seeds that may have formed in the large cucumbers before chopping with food processor.
Chop up cucumbers into medium-size chunks before adding to food processor.
Add all finely chopped vegetables to large container and mix well; add salt, cold water and ice cubes; let set for 2 hours. Drain and rinse with cold water, using a colander to drain off all water thoroughly.
All of the finely chopped veggies.
In large pot, combine sugar, apple cider vinegar, celery seed and mustard seed; bring to boil. Add vegetables and bring up to high simmer; cook for 10 minutes.
Pack hot relish in pint jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace at top of jar. To remove bubbles in each jar before capping with lid, insert butter knife and giving mixture slight stir.
To prepare lids for jars, add lids to cold water in small saucepan, add enough water to cover lids, and heat water up to simmer. As you add lids to water in saucepan, rotate lids up and down. By rotating the lids in this fashion, they will be easier to remove from hot water; otherwise it can be hard to get them apart, especially when they are hot.
Use this wonderful magnetic gadget to remove lids from hot water.
Remove lids from hot water, one at a time, place on jar of relish and seal snugly with a ring.
Put capped jars in canner, with enough water in canner to measure 4 inches deep after jars have been added to canner. Bring water in canner to low boil and boil relish for 25 minutes.
Lay dry towel on counter, remove hot jars from canner and set on towel. Let set 24 hours before moving jars and removing rings.
Before placing in pantry, press down on each lid with index finger to make sure jar is sealed. (An improperly sealed jar will make a noise like a hiccup when you press your fingers on top of the lid. If there is no noise or give in the lid as you press down on it, the jar sealed well.)
If any did not seal, store unsealed jars in refrigerator and use as needed. Jars that successfully sealed can be stored in pantry, for 1 year or longer.
Don't be alarmed, normally heating process in canner allows for lids to seal well; for this batch, all 28 pints sealed perfectly.
Ready for the table a wonderful zesty relish!
**Hint add 1/2 cup vinegar to canner to keep water stains from forming on jars as they cook.
For more delicious recipes see my food blog, Slice of Taste.