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Cucumber Relish

How to Do Home Canning, Beginning with Easy Cucumber Relish

Homemade cucumber relish is a delicious condiment that adds zing to fun foods like hot dogs and hamburgers. Gourmet condiments are the secret to many popular restaurant foods, but you don’t have to go to a restaurant to enjoy these tasty treats.

Even if you have never done home canning, don’t be intimidated by homemade relishes and other preserved foods.  The key is to have a water-bath canner, and follow manufacturers instructions carefully. Get the equipment ready before you begin any food prep. This is necessary so that the food does not become contaminated or spoiled.  It will take time at first, but once you’ve done your first canning, it will be a snap.  Keep in mind that it is not safe to alter canning recipes because of the changes in food composition. Any deviation from recipes and manufactures instructions could cause bacteria growth inside the jars, or the jar could even explode.

The following recipe is easy to make, and adds wonderful flavor to potato salad, or any recipe calling for sweet relish. 

You will need to grind each of the following vegetables in a blender or food processor, set on course grind. The measurements are based on vegetables already ground.

3 cups of onions (red preferably)
1 cup of green peppers
½ cup of red pepper
4 cups of cucumbers, peels left on
3 cups celery finely diced

Mix all the ground veggies in a large bowl, add 1/4th cup of salt, and cover with water.  Wait four hours.

Mix the following in a large pot:

3 ½ cups of sugar
2 cups of white vinegar        
1 tablespoon each of celery and mustard seed

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often until the sugar is completely liquefied.

Once the vegetables have set for four hours, drain the liquid.  Press out any remaining water.  Add vegetable medley to sugar mixture and simmer for 10 minutes. Place the relish in glass canning jars, either ½ or 1 pint, leaving a half-inch at the top. Get out air bubbles, if any, by scraping the inside of the jar with a knife. Tighten the band securely on each jar and wipe the jars clean.

Process jars in the boiling water-bath canner for 10 minutes, if at sea level.  Add one minute to processing time for each 1,000 feet above sea level. 

Seems simple, right?  You can be the hit of the party and no one will even know you aren’t a Martha Stewart protégé. Once you’ve made cucumber relish, try your hand at other sweet and tart recipes. Jars of homemade food make lovely gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or any time.  And you will save thousands of dollars over the years by not going to the mall every time December rolls around. Try some orange marmalade, stewed figs, dill pickles, and the list goes on.  For advice and safety information, peruse a few websites associated with agriculture departments in accredited universities.  There you will also find dozens of recipes that are tested and true.  Happy canning!



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