Monday, May 7, 2012

Sweet Pickle Relish and Therapy

Last week ended on a sour note...I'll spare you the gory details, some of which were a result of my own impulsivity.  I landed on my doorstep Friday afternoon wrung out and in a low mood.  So I rolled into bed early, secure in the knowledge that things would be better after a good night's sleep and a spell in the garden, and I was right.  Five hours of hard work, weeding, watering, and spreading compost on Saturday morning proved to be the cure.  With fresh air and sunshine and these looking down on me, I was cured.

I've spent the last few weeks leafing through a stack of books about canning and preserving in anticipation of "putting by" some of the fruits of my labor.  But it's been painfully obvious that the cucumbers I planted back in early March are not going to produce the lovely, overflowing baskets of fruit that I imagined.

Not to be deterred, I headed out Sunday morning to the local farmers' market.  I wasn't up for any disappointments, so I picked a recipe for Sweet Pickle Relish that sounded fool-proof and would yield a small batch that wouldn't crowd my tiny pantry.  The best part was I already had all the ingredients except the vegetables.  I knew things were looking up when the first vendor I visited had everything I needed...the cutest little sweet red peppers, green peppers, sweet onions and medium cucumbers...and the added bonus of a whole box of champagne mangoes (18) for $10!!  Yippee!!  I didn't need the mangoes, but I couldn't resist.

I needed a little extra therapy to put me over the top and I got it ...dicing and chopping and listening to the Big Chill soundtrack.

A few hours later ....

Sweet Pickle Relish via Canning and Preserving with Ashley English
Yield:  6 half-pints

4 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
2-1/2 c. sweet onion, diced
1 c. green pepper, diced
1 c. sweet red pepper, diced
1/4 c. pickling or kosher salt
3 c. granulated sugar
2-1/2 c. cider vinegar
1-1/2 T. yellow mustard seed
1-1/2 T. celery seed
1 t. turmeric

Combine the cucumbers, sweet onion, green and red pappers, and salt in a large blow.  Toss to combine, cover with a kitchen towel, and let stand in a cool area overnight or for at least four hours.

Drain and rinse the vegetables in a colander.  Rinse several times, pressing the vegetables with the back of a wooden spoon to remove all liquid and salty residue.  Set aside.

Sterilize 6 half-pint jars, lids, and screw rings.

In a medium stainless-steel saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, celery seed, and turmeric.  Add the vegetables, and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

Pack relish into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace.  Use a non-metallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles, and wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth.  Place the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.

Water bath process for 10 minutes.

While I was at it I made this lovely fig and balsamic jam that I can't wait to eat with some brie or chevre and crackers.  Yum!!

Next....Mango Chutney.


mireia badia said...

Looks great!!

Cynthia L. said...

I have always wondered what to do with cucumbers, other than eat them on a salad! This recipe will be tried! Glad to hear that your therapy is in the garden also!

Anonymous said...

The red potatoes from the garden are delicious! So buttery and creamy. I had the first tomato sliced up on a sandwich today. Juicy and great.