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Canning and preserving came from a place of necessity. But in today’s world, the convenience and ease of grocery stores changed what we preserve. Over time, recipes for things like pickle relish seem pointless when you can just run to the store and buy a jar. It’s true!
Have you ever given much thought to how pickle relish is made? Probably not, since it’s just a topping. That’s why I still make and can my own. When made at home, the flavor is stand-out, and so much better than anything from the store. Plus, there are no preservatives or food coloring added. While you may think you do not need six pints of relish, once you taste this, you’ll start finding reasons to use it! Trust me!
How is pickle relish used?
So you decide to can pickle relish. What in the world do you put it on besides a brat or hotdog? I completely understand. The jar in your refrigerator has probably been sitting there for longer than you can remember.
I think of this relish as any other pickle. So when I’m putting together a snack board or charcuterie platter, I add a bowl of this relish. When I want to make egg, chicken, or chickpea salad, I go straight for this relish. Obviously, any burger or brat gets a good helping too.
This relish has a flicker of bread and butter pickles, but is not overly sweet. There’s still some sweetness, but with a tangy component that makes it multi-useful… and addictive!
Why add in cabbage?
You may be surprised to see cabbage in the ingredient list. Isn’t this pickle relish? Cabbage is a surprising but perfect addition.
Once all the vegetables are salted, drained of excess liquid, then cooked, the cabbage practically disappears. The sweetness of the cabbage balances out the cucumbers and remains crunchy. Plus, the cabbage is a fantastic flavor carrier and in the end, you never even realize it’s in there.
Watch how to can this pickle relish recipe
How to Can Pickle Relish
- 3 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 8 cups finely chopped cucumbers pith and seeds removed
- 3 cups finely chopped cabbage
- ½ cup canning salt
For the brine
- 5 cups vinegar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup honey
- 2 ½ tsp celery seed
- 2 ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp turmeric
- In a large bowl, combine the onion, red pepper, green pepper, cucumbers, and cabbage. Sprinkle with salt and mix to incorporate. Pour into a large strainer and allow to drain for 6-8 hours. The drained liquid may need to be discarded during this time. After 6-8 hours, discard any liquid and rinse the vegetables well. Drain any excess rinsing liquid.
- In an 8-quart stockpot, combine the drained vegetables, vinegar, water, honey, celery seed, mustard seeds, and turmeric. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and fill sterilized jars, leaving ½-inch headspace.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean cloth. Place on lids and rings, following the manufacturer's instructions. Place the filled jars in a boiling water bath, ensuring the water covers the jars by one inch. Boil for 10 minutes, then remove the jars from the water bath and allow to rest at room temperature for 12-24 hours. The jars should all be sealed after 1 hour.
- After 12-24 hours, remove the rings to check the seals and place any unsealed jars in the refrigerator. Store at room temperature.