Two Types Zucchini Relish at Once

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relish-final
What to do with a giant zucchini

Three times recently when I visited our favorite local produce stand I have been tempted by the huge zucchini they were selling for only 25 cents each. Finally I could resist no longer, especially since growing zucchini in my Florida garden is beyond challenging! So far this season I have had some kind of stem borers, two rounds of voracious caterpillars, and now: ta daa! Mildew! I love baby zucchini for dinner, so to buy the kind that I used to abandon on my neighbors’ porches kind of goes against the grain. Anyway, not only did I buy one biggie, I bought four!

I have seen recipes for making a pineapple substitute with zucchini and pineapple juice on the internet, so I considered that. BUT recently I canned four pineapples and their juice so I don’t need to make any fake pineapple. Hmmmm, what to do with my recent zucchini acquisition? My answer came to me when Mr. M and I made the day trip to our not-so-local Costco (its about 60 miles away, so its IS a day trip!). You see, whenever we visit Costco, we have a “hot lunch date” with a Costco Polish sausage. As I was enjoying mine with pickle relish, I thought “I don’t have any relish at home and I like it made with zucchini!” The answer to my dilemma! So today I made zucchini relish: two of them: sweet and dill. Visit this post and you will understand the method to my madness of double recipes.

I make my relish a little differently that most recipes I have seen. Almost every one I have seen starts out something like: grind or finely chop vegetables, add a several tablespoons of salt, let stand X hours, then drain, rinse with fresh water, repeat and drain, squeeze out as much moisture as possible. My frugal nature, not to mention my aversion of too much salt, just cringes at this method. So here is what I do:

grinding
Grinding vegetables

First I grind all of the vegetables. Then I don’t add anything. I just drain the vegetables over a bowl to catch the juice. I save that juice in my freezer to add to soups, cook rice, or anything else that I might use stock for. In my opinion that juice is nutritious and too good to just discard. Why oversalt it and throw it away? Not to mention that rinsing the ground vegetables a couple of times washes away more of their nutrition.

drain
Draining vegetables

After draining, I squeeze out most of the moisture and proceed as usual.I add the rest of the ingredients:

spices-labelled
Pickle relish spices

Bring to a boil and simmer to desired thickness. Ladle into prepared jars, cap and process. After 10 minutes for half-pint jars, or 15 minutes for pint jars, remove from canner and let cool, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours. Wash, label and store.

Labelling
Labelling

These jars are half-pint, or 1 cup each. I use these small ones because I am the only one who likes relish. Notice that I use a different shaped jar for each type so I can tell at a glance which one is which.

Dill zucchini relish
Dill zucchini relishHere are the recipes:

Zucchini Dill Relish

2 large zucchini
2 large onions
3 large sweet peppers, any type bell, cubanelle, wax peppers, etc.
1 serrano chile, or other hot pepper of choice
2 large carrots
2 teaspoons canning or kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1 tsp whole mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp whole dill seed
1 cup granulated sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup cold water
2 Tbs Clear Jel for cooking
Grind all vegetables. Place in a colander over a bowl and drain well for a few hours (overnight in the refrigerator, if need be). Save vegetable juice for another purpose. Measure ground vegetables; you should have about 5 cups. Heat vegetables, add all spices, salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Mix Clear Jel with the cold water and add to the vegetable mixture. Cook until as thick as you like. Ladle into half pint jars, wipe rims and cap with 2 piece lids. Cook in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes. Immediately remove from the boiling water and cool. This made 9 half-pints for me but your mileage may vary.

Sweet  zucchini relish
Sweet zucchini relish

Zucchini Sweet Relish

2 large zucchini
2 large onions
3 large sweet peppers, any type bell, cubanelle, wax peppers, etc.
2 large carrots
1 serrano chile, or other hot pepper
2 teaspoons canning or kosher salt
½ tsp ground pepper
1 tsp whole mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
½ tsp ground nutmeg
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup cold water
3 Tbs Clear Jel for cooking

Grind all vegetables. Place in a colander over a bowl and drain well for a few hours (overnight in the refrigerator, if need be). Save vegetable juice for another purpose. Measure ground vegetables; you should have about 5 cups. Heat vegetables, add all spices, salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Mix Clear Jel with the cold water and add to the vegetable mixture. Cook until as thick as you like. Ladle into half pint jars, wipe rims and cap with 2 piece lids. Cook in a boiling water bath canner for ten minutes. Immediately remove from the boiling water and cool. This made 11 half-pints for me but your mileage may vary.

Some notes:

I use a variety of sweet peppers, and try to choose colorful ones to make the relish more appealing. You may notice that these two recipes are almost exactly alike except for the amount of sugar, Clear Jel, and some of the spices.I am not a chemist, but I think that the extra sugar in the sweet relish produces some extra juice so I add a bit more Clear Jel.

I use two big stockpots and cook them at the same time. While the first batch is processing in the canner, I put the second batch in the jars so they are ready to process when the first batch is done.

For more information about exact canning procedures and some great recipes go here.

Just so you know, my “radical” method of making relish does not make a watery product. It has a fresh vegetable pickle taste. Yum!

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