Your hamburgers and hot dogs will thank you if you add a dollop of this fantastic, sweet, tangy zucchini relish to them. Or try it on a tuna or egg sandwich! What a delicious way to preserve that
glut bounty of zucchinis to enjoy all year long.
Have you got aliens hiding in your vegetable patch?
Last night I thought I heard some strange beepings and saw weird lights flashing over the zucchinis in the garden, and when I went out to look this morning, lo and behold . . . . evidence!!!
Those little creatures left behind one of their #@%!&* dad gum blasted spaceships!
So what could I do but shred it up into little bits and pickle it?!?!
A few handfuls of onions and peppers, a sprinkle of spices, a drift of sweet sugar and a glug of vinegar, and that big ol' zucchini-squash-UFO became a most delectable condiment.
That should fix those pesky aliens.
But I have a sneaky suspicion they'll be back. Look at the size of our zucchini plants! (And the beans on the left side of the bean teepee are so vigorous they're pushing over the poles - or maybe that was the aliens, too.)
It is so very satisfying to preserve the bounty from a garden you've seeded, tended, and nurtured. I get real pleasure from chopping up veggies, stirring the pot, and filling the jars. Looking at rows of preserves gleaming on our shelves in the basement fills my heart with pride. I started out helping my mom can hundreds of jars each summer, when I was just around ten years old. We'd spend weeks canning and freezing all the bounty our huge garden offered. When you had to feed a large farm family with five hungry kids, you needed massive quantities of food. The winters were long and the small prairie town grocery store didn't stock much variety in the way of fresh produce, so we relied on our freezers and mom's impressively stocked larder; 600 - 800 jars canned each year!
I don't come close to those numbers, but I do enjoy canning a small variety of foods each year. Every couple years I make a double batch of this delicious zucchini relish, and it provides enough to give away a few jars and a good supply for us to enjoy.
It is, of course, tasty on hot dogs and burgers, but have you tried a spoonful stirred into tuna salad or macaroni salad? Or a layer slathered on an egg sandwich? Or a ham and cheese sandwich? Have you tried a dollop of it next to a piece of grilled chicken or a pork chop? A jar of zucchini relish in your fridge provides all sorts of lip-smacking possibilities.
Just don't feed any to the aliens - or you may never get rid of them!
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Sweet 'n Tangy Zucchini Relish
- 8 cups finely chopped zucchini 1.1kg/2.5lbs
- 2 cups finely chopped onions (2 large onions)
- 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (1 large pepper)
- ½ cup finely chopped green bell pepper (½ of a large pepper)
- 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 2½ cups (500gms) sugar
- 1½ cups (360ml) white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Using a food processor to chop the vegetables makes quick work of them. You can cut them by hand, but it is very laborious – you need to make sure to chop them very finely. To process them in the food processor, cut the zucchini into chunks, then process it in batches by pulsing the processor so you don’t chop them to mush – just into fine, even pieces. Do the same with the onions and peppers.
- Combine the chopped vegetables with the salt in a large bowl. Let stand for 2 hours, stirring often so the salt is well dispersed. This draws excess moisture from the veggies. Drain the vegetables in a sieve, then rinse them. To do this: dump them back into the bowl and cover them with cold water. Stir them with your hands or a spoon, then pour them into the sieve again to drain a second time. This will remove most of the salt. Squeeze out the extra moisture by pressing down on the vegetables in the sieve. You should have about 5½ cups of vegetables left.
- In a large stock pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, dry mustard, turmeric, celery seed, and pepper. Bring to a boil, and add the drained vegetables. Simmer the relish, uncovered, for 25 minutes.
- Stir together the cornstarch and water, and pour it into the relish, stirring to disperse it. Cook for 5 more minutes.
- Pack the zucchini relish into hot, sterilized jars, wipe the rims with a hot, wet cloth, and seal with hot, sterilized snap lids and rings. If the zucchini relish looks like it’s getting a bit dry as the pot gets emptier while filling the jars, add a few tablespoons of water to get it to the consistency you like.
- Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes (instructions in this zucchini salsa post).
- Makes 7 half-pints (8oz/250ml jars).
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