This time of year, there is an overabundance of zucchini, so I've been making relish out of it. A friend kindly gave me a wonderful recipe last year and I was thrilled with the outcome of my first pickling adventure. Unfortunately, I only made half of the recipe and we ran out quickly because we used it in EVERYTHING from tuna fish, to potato salad, to hot dogs, to you name it.
This season, I'm making TWO batches. I also (nervously) tweaked last years recipe a little with amazing results; we love this recipe, it has a perfect bread and butter pickle flavor.
3 cups sweet onion (chopped small)
1 cup celery (chopped small)
2 large red bell peppers (chopped small)
2 cups peeled carrots (chopped small)
1 cup pickling salt (see important note)
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons DRY mustard powder
1 tablespoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon corn starch
Wash and dry the vegetables before cutting them (the only one you should peel is the carrot). Coarsely chop the vegetables, then put them in the food processor (2 or 3 cups at a time) and pulse them a few times to get them small enough for a good relish (but not too small). The chop size should look like the next photo.
Mix the small chopped vegetables and 1 cup of pickling salt. Place this mixture (covered) in fridge overnight (The salt will draw excess moisture out of the veggies).
IMPORTANT NOTE: After the vegetables have chilled overnight, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you rinse the salt off of them. I used a colander and rinsed the veggies three times (in small batches). Whatever method you choose to rinse the salt off, just make sure you rinse, rinse, rinse then squeeze as much water out of the chopped veggies (with your hands) as you can. Set aside.
In a large, non-aluminum, pot, mix the vinegar, sugar, celery seed, spices and corn starch. Bring to a boil (to dissolve the sugar). Add all of the rinsed vegetables to the pot and bring BACK to a boil. Once it is boiling well, turn heat to medium low and gently boil everything for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so.
While the relish is simmering, sterilize 7 pint jars and 7 (two piece) screw on lids. I do this by putting the jars through a hot cycle in my dishwasher (but I don't put the lids in there). Keep the jars in the (unopened) hot dishwasher after the last cycle.
For the lids, I just wash them with hot soapy water, rinse them well and then pour boiling water over them in a large saucepan which I keep warm on a burner.
Also, while the relish is simmering, bring your hot water bath to a boil, here's how: Place a rack on the bottom of a large stock pot (or something to keep the jars up off of the bottom of the pan) and fill the pot with water (water should be deep enough to cover the jars by 2". Bring to full boil.
Now that your relish has boiled for 20 minutes, remove it from the heat and place it in the hot jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top of the jars (make sure there are no air pockets in the relish). Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, hot, wet kitchen towel and screw on the two-piece lids fairly tight. Lower the jars into the already boiling water and keep them in there 10 minutes for half pint jars and 15 minutes for pint jars.
Remove from boiling water and let cool to room temperature on your kitchen counter. As they cool on your counter, you will hear the lids "pop" when they make the correct seal. If they don't "pop", just keep them in the fridge.