Zucchini Relish

When I was growing up, my mom made zucchini relish every year, so now I make zucchini relish every year.   One batch is enough to get me through a whole year of tartar sauce, chicken and tuna salad, and hot dogs.  Yes, I know hot dogs are not one of the best things I could be eating, but I love hot dogs and have to have them every once in a while.  I’m a relish, mustard, and onions kind of a gal. Anyway, I made a batch of zucchini relish this weekend, but it barely put a dent in my zucchini supply.

This is a forgiving recipe, and measurements don’t have to be exact. I use honey, but you could use sugar if you want. I tend to like more of vinegary tang than sweetness in my relish, so my recipe uses quite a bit less sweetener than most recipes. Also, most recipes call for celery seed, but we all know how I feel about celery (it’s an evil, vile vegetable and my husband is allergic).  My standard substitution for all things celery is fennel.  If you like a little spice you could add some jalapeno to the recipe.  My husband is a big baby when it comes to spicy foods, so I’m close friends with the many bottles of hot sauce that inhabit my kitchen.  One of these days I’ll get around to giving you my recipe for homemade tequila hot sauce.

Zucchini Relish
1 monster zucchini (about 3 pounds, or 8 cups)
4 large onions (about 1 pound)
2 large red and/or green peppers
4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups honey
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 heaping teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 heaping teaspoon salt

Shred or finely chop zucchini, onion, and peppers.  A food processor makes quick work of it.  Sprinkle the 4 tablespoons of salt over the chopped veggies, mix it in well, and set it aside for a couple of hours.  I’ve seen some recipes that call for letting it sit overnight, but I’ve found a couple of hours does an adequate job of drawing out the excess water in the vegetables.

 I went outside and planted a row of snow peas for the fall garden while I was waiting. Then I got my canning gear out, and got my jars washed and ready to receive the relish.

Next, rinse the vegetables well in a fine mesh colander with cold water.  Squeeze excess water from the veggies and place them in a non-reactive pot.

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer for about half an hour, until the relish begins to look a little translucent.   Ladle the relish into jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.  Yields about 9 half pints.

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