Why It Works
- You can use a box grater to shred the vegetables, but a food processor and a grating disc are quick and simple.
- Adding more vinegar after the vegetables have simmered ensures a lively brine, as the vegetables express water when cooked.
I grew up believing firmly in a condiment matrix. Mustard went on hot dogs, ketchup belonged to hamburgers, and relish was only applicable if I had a Dodger Dog in my hands. As I got older, I began to bend my self-imposed condiment rules and explored other applications. I discovered that mustard could also be good whisked into salad dressing and ketchup made an excellent glaze for meatloaf.
And then there's relish. True, it's good on hot dogs, but this condiment can do so much more. I think it's time to shake off the lowbrow reputation that pickle relish has been saddled with for so long and bring it out into the limelight. Since it's essentially a chopped pickle, you can use it anywhere that a bit of sliced or minced dill pickle might go. Spread it on a sandwich, stir it into tuna or chicken salad, or even put it out on a cheese tray along with a dish of tapenade.
Another virtue of this type of relish is that it has the ability to absorb mountains of garden produce. Cucumbers and green peppers take up a heck of a lot of space in their natural form, but once shredded, they become compact and manageable.
Before You Get Started
If you have a food processor with a fine grating disc blade, this is a good time to pull it out. You can use a box grater, but using an appliance makes really quick work of it and keeps your knuckles entirely intact.
The reason that the recipe has you simmer the vegetables in apple cider, drain them, and then add more is because these vegetables have a very high water content. They express enough liquid into the vinegar that they can dilute and leave the relish tasting weak and lifeless.
I like to add enough red chile flake to this relish to ensure that I experience a pleasant tingle while eating it. However, if you like things a little less hot, feel free to reduce or omit the chile flakes.
3 cups grated green pepper (about 2 large)
3 cups grated pickling cucumber (6 to 8 pickles)
1 cup minced or grated onion (about 1 medium)
2 cups apple cider vinegar, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
Combine prepared green pepper, cucumber, and onion in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel or enamel-coated) pot. Stir in one cup of apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have cooked down and liquid is reduced by about 1/3, about 30 minutes. Drain vegetables, discard liquid, and return vegetables to pot.
Add remaining vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Fill jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (starting time when pot returns to a boil). Remove jars from pot and let cool on a towel-lined countertop.
When jars are completely cool, remove rings and test seals. The relish is good to eat immediately. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to a year.
Food processor, mason jars, canning pot
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 8g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 6mg||29%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|