‘Tis the season…
whether you garden or, like me, participate in a local family farm’s “goody bag” promotion (ours is called Mystery Bag); you will come back from your garden or farm with a bunch of cucumber. I was gonna say crap-ton, but this is a family kinda blog.
So, even if you’re my friend Mira who has a family of five and a line on fresh Bulgarian Feta cheese for cucumber salad, you are gonna be making pickles.
This particular pickle is an hommage to my grandmother, Rachel, who always had a jar or forty of her sweet “chop pickle” relish in the cellar. Mine isn’t quite as sweet, and has a bit of an added bite from the red pepper flakes and sliced fresh jalapeño.
Still mighty tasty, and well worth the effort to try and deal with some of the cucumbers hanging around the house right about now.
I think dill relish is next on my agenda.
•6 cups chopped cucumber
•4 cups diced green pepper
•2 cups diced red pepper
•2 cups diced sweet onion
•1/2 cup chopped jalapeño
•4 cups cider vinegar, divided
•2 cups sugar
•2 tbsp pickling salt
•2 tbsp mustard seed*
•1 tsp celery seed
•2 tsp red pepper flakes
*I used yellow mustard seed. For a spicier relish, try substituting brown or black mustard seed for some of the yellow.
Stir the cucumber together with the onion, green red pepper, and sliced jalapeño in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel, enamelled, or anodized aluminum) pot.
Add two cups of the cider vinegar, stir to mix, and bring to a boil. Don’t fret, once the veggies start to cook down, there will be plenty of cooking liquid.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 or 40 minutes, until the veggies have cooked down and cooking liquid has reduced by about one third.
Drain the veggies, discarding the simmer liquid, and return to the pot.
Add the other two cups of vinegar, the sugar, salt, and the seasonings.
Give a stir to mix, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.
Remove from the heat and transfer the chopped pickle to prepared canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace from the top of the jar.
Add covers and secure bands ‘fingertip’ tight (only tightening the bands using your fingertips), then process in boiling water for ten minutes.
Remove the jars to a rack to cool, listening for the lids to “pop” which means they have sealed. To check, simply press a fingertip to the center of the lid. If you can “click” it, the jar has not sealed.
Label the cooled jars and store in a cool dark space until needed.
One taste of this relish and you will find that you need it quite often.
I got eleven lovely half pint jars.
Now… on to that dill relish.