How to Make Garden Relish

Sep 7, 2019 | Farmhouse Food

Garden relish is a great pickle to make at the end of summer. It uses up lots of vegetables from the garden, is easy to make, and tastes delicious!  Of all the pickles I make this relish is my favorite and definitely the pickle we eat the most of.

I learned this recipe from my neighbor, Louise, who has been making it for years. She taught me to make this garden relish a few years ago and I loved it!

My family goes through a lot of this relish in a year.  We really like it on hamburgers, sausages and it makes a delicious deviled ham sandwich!  After tasting this relish you will have a hard time going back to store bought relish as it is just not the same.

Here are all the steps you need to make this garden relish for yourself:

Ingredients

 

4 cups cucumbers

4 cups green tomatoes

4 cups carrots

4 onions

3 green peppers

3 red peppers

1/3 cup pickling salt

6 cups white sugar

3 cups vinegar (apple cider or white)

½ cup pickling spice.

 

Prepare the Vegetables

In a food processor finely chop your vegetables, you want them to be about the size of a grain of rice. You do not want the vegetables to become mush so be sure to not over process them. 

Add chunks of cucumber to the food processor and process until finely chopped. If you overfill your food processor it will be difficult to get the pieces evenly chopped.  Also, to help with this you can shake your processor while it is chopping.

Once the cucumbers are finely chopped measure 4 cups and add them to a large stock pot. Next, process, measure and add the rest of the vegetables to your stock pot. 

You do not need to measure the onions or peppers, just process and add 4 onions, 3 red peppers, and 3 green peppers.  This relish is ideal for preserving vegetables from your garden so if you have more of one vegetable or less of another you can just substitute them out for what you have growing.

Once the vegetables are all chopped and added to the pot, stir them up and sprinkle 1/3 cup of pickling salt over the top. Then cover the pot and let it sit for the night (12-24 hours).

Drain

Once your vegetables have had time to set there will be a lot of juice that has formed in your pot. It is important to drain off the liquid so that your relish will be the right texture and not soup.

To drain simply use a strainer or colander that you have on hand. After the liquid has been removed put the vegetables back in your pot.

Add Rest of Ingredients

Now that the liquid has been removed add the vinegar, sugar, and pickling spice to the pot. For the vinegar I have used both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar and both work just fine.  I just use whatever I have on hand.  

Before adding the pickling spice make sure to put it in a pouch so that it can be removed later. There are specific spice bags that you can buy for just this purpose, however, I did not have one so Louise cut some tool fabric for me to use. You can use anything, really, as long as the holes are small enough for spices to not fall through but still large enough for the flavor to seep out.

Simmer

Now that the liquid has been removed add the vinegar, sugar, and pickling spice to the pot. For the vinegar I have used both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar and both work just fine.  I just use whatever I have on hand.  

Before adding the pickling spice make sure to put it in a pouch so that it can be removed later. There are specific spice bags that you can buy for just this purpose, however, I did not have one so Louise cut some tool fabric for me to use. You can use anything, really, as long as the holes are small enough for spices to not fall through but still large enough for the flavor to seep out.

Jar & Store

 

After 3 hours have passed it is time to put your relish into jars.  While you are jarring the relish keep the relish pot on the heat so it stays hot throughout the whole process.

You can store this relish in any of size mason jars that you want.  All you need is for the jars to be sterilized and hot.  I poured boiling water over my jars just before the relish was ready, then emptied out the water and lined them up beside my burner. Also, you will want to have your lids and bands ready. I put the lids and bands in a pan and pour boiling water over them and let them sit in the water until I needed them.

To make the jarring process go smooth you will want a laddle and funnel. A canning set is nice to have for this process.  They usually come with a jar gripper and a funnel.

Once you are all prepared laddle relish into the first jar, leaving ½ – ¼ inch of space at the top of the jar. Next wipe the rim of the jar clean, place on a lid, and turn on a band. I put my bands on tightly with finger strength but do not crank them on as tight as possible.

 

 Fill your jars one at a time, putting on the lids as you go. Do not fill all of your jars and then go put on all the lids because your jars will not seal! I have made this mistake before.   You need to put each lid on as you go so the relish is hot enough to seal the lids.

You need to work quickly when jarring your relish because if your jars or relish cool off too much they will not seal.  After your relish is in the jars you will begin to hear the jars pop. This sound tells you that the jar has sealed! You can also tell if a jar has sealed by lightly running your finger over the lid.  If it is slightly concave it has sealed.  If it is still bumped up slightly is has not.

After your relish jars have sat for a day, check to make sure they have properly sealed by taking off the bands and lifting on the lids. If the lids stay firm then they have sealed, but if they come off when you lift on them then they have not sealed properly.

 If some jars have not sealed you can put them in the freezer to keep for the year, or you can put them in the fridge to use over the next month. Make sure that you have at least 1 inch of empty space at the top of your jars if you freeze them, because the liquid will expand when frozen and can break the glass if there is not enough room.

 

After you have checked your seals, store your relish jars preferably in a cool area of your home for the year.

 

Enjoy!

Once your relish is all made let it set on the shelf for about a month to allow the flavors  to develop.  This relish will keep for at least a year if properly sealed. We are still eating my batch from last year and it tastes just as good or maybe even better than the first bottle. Although it can store that long, it is so yummy that usually does not last that long.

I hope you have a chance to make this garden relish and see how good it tastes for yourself. Thank you, Louise, for teaching me how to make this delicious relish recipe, and for letting me share it here with everyone! Check out my post on the simple sweet apple sauce recipe that Louise also taught me. 

Learning skills from my elders is something that I am thankful for and appreciate about my community. If you have neighbors that grew up in a time where getting back to the land was just a part of life, why not ask them to teach you a thing or two. There are so many great recipes and skills to learn and fun times to be had by spending time with others who have different experience than you.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Have you considered grinding the Vegas using a larger blade, I grind for my mustard relish and it works well

    Reply
    • Maggie

      No I haven’t but I will have to try that next time. Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Reply
  2. Danielle

    This is the best relish ever! I’m not at a fan of relish at all but I could eat this by the spoonful. It is also delicious as a sweet salsa.

    Reply

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Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land.  Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.

 

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