Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Well, I'm looking at trying a dill pickle recipe, shortly, because my cucumber plants are going nuts.  I was realizing, too that my squash are about to wax prolific, which reminded me of my mother's and my favorite relish.  My mother is the source of most of my canning recipes and inspiration, though, I have tried a number of variations as I've gone because I love HEAT in my food and she doesn't. I think living in California with access to so much Mexican culture and food changed my New Hampshire palate, for which I am glad.  When I have pictures of this in a month, I will edit the post and put them in here.

Mom's Zucchini Relish

10 cups cut squash (yes, you can use any squash like zucchini, summer squash, mexican squash, or even patty-pan squash) I've cut it by hand, but honestly, I think grated is better for consistency and you can use a food processor to do that.
4 cups of chopped onion
5 Tbsp uniodized salt (canning salt)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp celery seed (I've also used mustard seed in lieu of this, but I don't like it as much)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp tumeric
1.5 cups white vinegar (I've used some balsamic vinegar in here because it's delicious!)
3 cups of sugar

Mix squash, onion and salt into a non reactive bowl or crock.  Cover and leave overnight.  Drain the liquid out and set aside.  In a large pot, mix the rest of the ingredients together and then add in squash and onions mixture.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Pack into sterilized jars and seal.  Run in hot water bath for about 15-25 minutes with jars under water.  Remove and let cool.  This should make 6-7 pints. Because I never use a lot of relish at once, I typically use half pint jars for this.

How can I change this up?
Possible alterations include using jalapenos or serranos (I'd substitute at least 6-10 for a bell pepper and use seeds for more heat) and tossing in a Tbsp of hot pepper flakes.  I have also just tossed in a half dozen hot peppers and it really wouldn't do much other than add some heat.

I've also just used red bell peppers, as well as red, hot peppers that are starting to dry, so it's prettier. The green is OK, but I like the color of the red. It reminds me of summer in the winter.  I've also used more than just the two bell peppers. Usually, if I'm using zucchini, I have enough green color, but if I've used some yellow squash, I typically have used green pepper, with a red and an orange pepper.  I like the look of it and I like the fact that you get the color without using food coloring.

You could substitute honey for the sugar, if you're feeling that ambitious.  It seems like about two cups of honey would be sufficient, using this site as a guide.  It's not going to brown, but it will add a little liquid to the recipe.  I would guess that you can cut the vinegar down by a quarter cup and up the honey to 2.25 cups and you'd maintain enough acidity for keeping botulism at bay.

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