Canning Sweet Pickle Relish

There’s been a robust return to canning homemade recipes and processing fruit and vegetables from the home garden. Canning sweet pickle relish is so simple and can be done with fresh cucumbers, or with cucumbers that have been brined prior to canning. Several different types of vegetables can be substituted in this recipe, however, let’s use cucumbers.

Start by sterilizing your jars, lids and bands. You can do this in just one pot, but I like to place the lids and bands separate from the jars. Wash your jars, lids and bands in soapy water and rinse well before sterilizing them. Do not bring the water to a boil in the pot with the bands and lids.

Set out everything you’ll need to complete the entire process. It’s best to have all of the ingredients and tools at the ready, so you are not scrambling for an ingredient or tool that you do not have in the kitchen. Canning pots should allow you to cover the tallest jars you are processing with, with at least one inch of water.

Finely dice all of the following ingredients and place them into a large glass or plastic bowl, mixing in 1/8 cup of non-iodized salt. Keep them in this bowl for at least one hour, while you make other preparations. The following ingredients (including spices, liquid and sugar) will make 8 pints of sweet pickle relish:

2 quarts plus one cup of diced cucumbers. You can use fresh or brined. (Note: if you are using brined cucumbers, make sure they have been de-salted. If not de-salted, do not add the salt listed in this recipe)

6 large bell peppers – two red, two orange and two yellow

4 cups of white onion

Place all diced vegetables in the bowl and mix together with salt, if you are using it. Cover and let stand in the refrigerator for one hour.

Place the following ingredients in a large pot and bring it to a boil, stirring regularly.

4 cups of apple cider vinegar

6 cups of sugar

3 tablespoons of mustard seed

3 tablespoons of celery seed

1 teaspoon of celery salt

Once mixture is at a rapid boil, rinse and add the diced ingredients from the refrigerator. Bring mixture back to a boil, then, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Use a hand held food blender to reduce chunk size. (This is not a necessary step; however, it seems to help thicken the mixture). Remove any foam from the top of the relish.

Place this hot mixture into hot jars. You may want to add a pickle crisping product at this time, but it is not absolutely necessary. I add it and then slowly mix it into the relish, which helps to remove any air bubbles Place a lid and a band loosely on the jar and set it into your canner. Process the relish for 15 minutes at a rapid boil. Remove the jars from the hot water canner and let them cool.

Label with contents and date made and place in the pantry. Let stand at least two weeks in the pantry prior to using. This relish is great on hot dogs and hamburgers.

Sources: Steven Coyne’s kitchen and the “Gardeners Guide” Blog.

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