Sunday, August 17, 2014

Relish-ing Summer's Bounty

By Jeff Burns

            As vegetables from summer gardens and farmers’ markets come into season, many home cooks find themselves deluged and search for ways to preserve the flavor of summer.  Relishes are an excellent way to do just that.  Relishes are chopped and pickled vegetables or fruits used as condiments, used on sandwiches, meats, vegetables – nearly everything.  They are thought to have been invented in India centuries ago, but they have spread to practically every culture in the world.  Wikipedia’s page on relish lists dozens of international varieties.  (Relish. (2014, May 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:50, June 29, 2014, from
            My wife and I made few varieties last week which we will have on hand to enjoy for months to come:  Chow Chow (a long-time southern favorite), Piccalilli, Zesty Zucchini Relish, Golden Relish, Cucumber Relish, and Achar (South Asian/Indian pickles).  Relishes are quite simple; all you need are vegetables or fruit, vinegar, and a few spices.  The fun is that you don’t have to stick to a particular recipe when it comes to vegetables; use what you have lots of on hand.

First, the vegetables.  The hardest part is all the chopping.

 Second, some recipes require you to salt the vegetables and set in a cool place overnight.  Then, you rinse and drain and begin cooking.
After rinsing and draining, you cook the vegetables with the vinegar and spices for a few minutes, and then you’re ready to put it in jars.


So, read about the different varieties of relish and find a recipe you want to try and have fun!  For recipes, check your favorite cookbooks are online.  Our canning bible is The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  (Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine.  The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.  Toronto:  Robert Rose, 2006.)

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