Saturday, August 6, 2011

with relish!

Hot dogs get a bad rap as being filled with leftovers and rejected parts of a multitude of animals but there are some good ones out there - Nathan's and Hebrew National spring to mind as easily-acquired brand names, and any butcher worth their salt will stock a tasty local-style dog.   But as a friend once said to me, the main function of a hot dog is as a vehicle for condiments.

With that in mind, I made Cucumber Relish.  I have plans for ketchup and mustards at a later date!  Fortunately, I read the entire recipe ahead of time, not always something I do but I am getting better, because not only was there a 3-4 hour soak time but there was also a 12-18 hour overnight soak!  There is also an overwhelming amount of dicing and chopping that I was able to make short work of with my cute little Manual Food Processor.
from this...
to only a matter of strokes!

A bit of mixing to show off the colors of the red and green peppers, red onions, and pickling cucumbers used, and voila...
from the old Ball Blue Book of Canning
Speaking of colors, turmeric stains everything.  Oh my word, does anyone have any useful ways to take it off my rubber spatulas (scrapers for those of you in other parts of the country)?  I had to use stainless cleaner to get it out of my giant stainless steel bowl and eventually, it will stop making me look like I have nicotine-stained fingernails!

Aside from inadvertent dying of everything it came into contact with, the relish canned up easily, no major missteps, which is more than I can say about my first venture with tomatoes.  But that is for another post!

You can vary the taste by changing up the type of vinegar (white or apple cider) and sugar (white granulated or brown) and onions (white, yellow, red...).

From Ball Blue Book

2 quarts chopped cucumbers (about 8 medium)
2 cups chopped sweet green peppers (4 small)
2 cups chopped sweet red peppers (4 small)
1 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 tbsp turmeric
1/2 cup salt
2 quarts cold water
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 quart vinegar
2 sticks cinnamon
1 tbsp whole mustard seed
2 tsp whole allspice
2 tsp whole cloves

Combine vegetables in a large bowl; sprinkle with turmeric.  Dissolve salt in 2 quarts cold water and pour over vegetables; let stand 3 to 4 hours.  Drain; cover vegetables with cold water and let stand 1 hour.  Drain thoroughly.  Combine sugar  and vinegar in a large saucepot.  Tie spices in a spice bag; add to sugar mixture.

Bring to a boil; pour over vegetables.  Cover; let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place.  Bring vegetables to a boil;  reduce heat and simmer until hot.  Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner

Yield:  about 6 pints

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