Pickles and Relish

Well, when you have another basket of lovely local cukes, then it’s time to try a new recipe or two. I’ve been meaning to try making real pickles, not just frig pickles. So, my plan was to try bread and butter pickles and then to try making homemade sweet relish.

First the relish. After washing them up, and we sliced them up. Then Maggie fed them through the food processor to make a fine chopped relish. And then we chopped up the onion and sweet pepper.

Once it was all chopped, I sprinkled some pickling salt per the recipe in with water and the chopped relish was let to sit for several hours. The cucumber puts off a lot of liquid and I guess that the salt helps to draw it out.

Once the relish sat for several hours, you drain it out, to get rid all the excess water. I used a very fine sieve and pressed a bowl into the mix to really press out the liquid. Once I was done, it went into a pot with the cider vinegar and sugar. The mix will boil and you added the spices, which were mustard seed and celery seed. It was really very simple actually. Once it boiled, you just fill your waiting pint jars and water bath process for 10 minutes. When I filled the jars, I did let it drain a bit. Once the jar was filled, I did fill it with a spoon or two of juice.

Let me tell you, these were some of the best tasting dogs around… our own onions, our own relish and decent hot dogs from the local butcher… very good. Can’t wait to give it a try in some tuna or with Maggie’s awesome potato salad!

Now, after the relish, we made the bread and butter pickles. After they soaked in the salt water bath, they were drained and blended into a very similar mixture of vinegar, sugar and spices.

It was a little tricky to do, I did have more pickle slices than I probably needed as I did end up shy of the liquid and had to make a half batch to finish filling up the jars. My bad. Hey, this is all new to me. I have noticed, though, with canning and such, you do need to measure pretty close and make sure you do as the recipe requires. Just a little heads up. In the end, my pickles looked a little, well, wilty a bit. I probably over did the boil part. But they tasted good, before the water bath and time to stew. I think they will be just fine after a week or so of pickling.

Just a little thought or two… I use my Presto-Pot to waterbath my canning. Works great. It’s super quick to heat up, and can hold a decent temperature for a long time without guessing. I can do 4 pints in it, and like 5 or 6 of the littler jelly jars. Works pretty good. Only thing, I can’t do larger quart jars.

I am planning on getting a larger water canner in a week or two, when my tomatoes start coming in. I want to be able to do stewed tomatoes and sauces, that kind of thing. My only worry is that it might not work with my induction stove top burner. Guess I’ll be testing that out sooner than later. (I carry a little magnet in my purse… a pot has to have a high level or steel in it, to work with an induction stove top. It’s one of the drawbacks to the induction system, but I’ve done a little research and most of the big black canners are steel. Should be okay.

Another thing… nobody says that you have to can 47 pints of something to can. I find it very relaxing to make 6 pints of something, whether it’s jam or jelly, a chutney or even pickles or relish. It’s easy if you take it step by step and doesn’t have to be huge production that some people would like it to be. Sure if you have a large garden or family and you need to put up hundreds of jars of food, then, it’s a production. But if you’re a smaller family, or just love the idea of a fresh jar of homemade jelly, then try it in smaller batches. It’s delightfully fun and rewarding. They make great gifts.

One of the things I love about making canned goodies is sharing them. Every time I have passed on a jar of something homemade, everyone talks of a friend or relative that used to can and how good it was. A lot of folks even return the jar when it’s done and tell you it was delightful! Or so and so loved this and that. Maybe they’re being nice, but none seem to decline another jar or two through the season. I’ve even had a few people ask to buy the stuff! Oh my!

No thanks… I think if I tried to do it all the time or as a cottage industry, some of the fun and delight would go away. No, I like canning because I can make and store goodies from our local harvest, and I love knowing exactly what goes in each jar. And I love looking at them, all beautiful and colorful. It’s so redeeming, it just is so neat. You don’t have to have a whole farm and all just have a little bit of self sufficiency in your daily life. Even in an old mobile home in the city.


The Recipes

Sweet Pickle Relish

4 cups chopped cucumbers
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup canning/pickling salt

3 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
1 tbsp. celery seed
1 tbsp. mustard seed

Combine chopped veggies in a big bowl, sprinkle with salt and fill with cold water. Let stand 2-3 hours. Prepare all your canning jars and lids (sterilize and warm jars)
Drain veggies completely, press out liquid. Set aside. Combine vinegar, sugar and spices in a LARGE pot and bring to a boil, stirring often. Add the veggies and stir, simmering for 10 minutes. Pack the hot relish into the hot jars, leaving headspace of 1/4 inch. Ladle in a bit of the juice it it seems dry to you. Add lids and bands, and process the jars for 10 minutes in boiling water bath canner. Makes about 6 pint jars.

Bread and Butter Pickles

2 quarts sliced medium cucumbers
1 big onion
1 green or red pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/6 cup canning salt

Slice your cukes, and peppers and onions into your choice of slices, rings or fine chopped bits. Sprinkle with salt, cover with cold water and ice cubes. Let set 3 hours and then drain in a colander.

2 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup cidar vinegar
3/4 tsp tumeric
3/4 tsp. celery seed
1 tbsp mustard seed

In a large pot, heat to a boil, then add cuke and veggie mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes, then pack into hot jars. Lid and process in a boiling water hot bath for 10 minutes. Let jars sit for a week or two before eating for best results. Makes 4-6 pints of pickles.

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of BuckeyeBluegrass.com as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


Pickles and Relish — 2 Comments

  1. Ugh…I still want to do pickles and blackberry jam this year. Someone a work wants to pay be to make pickles for them. I’m hesitant. As long as they return the jar, seeing them enjoy what I make is payment enough. I should see if I can trade jams with people sort of like a jam co-op. you make a batch or two of one jam/jelly and trade what you don’t want for a different jam/jelly.

    • Oh that is a great idea! A canned good swap!!! I wish I knew others that did more canning and all, that sounds like fun!!!