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Sweet & Spicy Zucchini Relish for National Can-It-Forward Day

Posted By Tracy on August 13, 2011 @ 7:38 am in canning | 20 Comments

The first time I pickled something, I swore up and down that I would never do it again. Sure, the dilled carrots I made came out okay, and it was fun to learn how to pickle. But my entire house smelled of vinegar for days, and once I finally popped open the one jar I made, I was disappointed to realize that I really didn’t like pickled carrots. I decided that was the end of my pickling experience…that is, until I tried some pickles that a friend brought on a camping trip that summer. Before I knew it, I was making my own bread & butter pickles (this time with more ventilation to keep the vinegar smell from lingering in the house), and putting several other pickling projects on my list of things to do. One of them, of course, was relish.

As promised, today I’m participating in all the fun of National Can-It-Foward Day by posting a step-by-step tutorial on pickling zucchini relish. Now, don’t be scared away by the word “pickling.” It’s easier than you think! Although there are several steps involved, none of them are overly complicated…and of course, remember to crack open a window or two and turn on your oven vent if you have one. If you’re going to be pickling for the first time, I recommend making sure that you’re using a safe and reliable recipe; I adapted mine from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

I hope you’ll join in on the fun, too! Even though I plan to enjoy this sweet and spicy relish on hot dogs and hamburgers over the rest of summer, I’m also looking forward to popping open a few jars during the winter when fresh vegetables begin to dwindle! If you haven’t already, head on over here to check out helpful videos, the schedule of events, and to sign up to view the day’s events as they happen! Happy canning!

  • 12 cups zucchini, diced
  • 4 cups onion, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 Tbsp celery seeds
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 1/2 Tbsp crushed red pepper

In a large pot, combine the zucchini, onion, red and green peppers, and salt. Cover and let stand in a cool place for 12 hours or overnight.

Then, drain the mixture in a colander and rinse with cool water.

Press with your hands to squeeze out any excess liquid. I ended up splitting up the mixture into two colanders to make sure that I got a good amount of the moisture out.

In a large pot, combine the drained zucchini mixture, sugar, vinegar, mustard and celery seeds, fresh dill, and crushed red pepper.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is the consistency of a thin commercial relish, about 45 minutes.

When ready to can, prepare your supplies. Bring the temperature of the glass jars up by processing them in hot water for several minutes. Heat a few cups of water in a small saucepan for the lids. When ready to fill the jars, remove them from the pot with tongs, draining the water from each one.

Ladle the hot relish into the hot jars, leaving 1/2″ headspace.

Place the lids on top and screw on the bands. Place the jars back into the canner and process (boil) for 15 minutes.

Remove the canner lid and let them process 5 more minutes before removing the jars.

Once removed from the water, the seals should suck down (you’ll hear a popping noise as they do). Let sit 24 hours for the relish to set completely. Makes 7-8 eight-ounce jars.


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