Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pickle Relish

I often make up my canning plans for the week when I am at the Farmer's Market. You never know what you are going to find at a steal of a deal. These cucumbers for instance were one of those fun surprises. I was headed out of the market after arriving rather late in the day when I spotted a stall with these wonderful cucumbers bagged up together. Sometimes at the end of the day, the stall owners will bag up produce that has not sold yet and offer it at rock bottom prices. I asked how much for the bag, and I was told one dollar. Sold! I am totally in for figuring out what to do with some extra cucumbers. I decided to try my hand a sweet pickle relish as we were almost out of our store bought jar.

One of the things I forget about pickles in general is to take into account the soak time. I made several false starts on this project, getting all the ingredients out and washing up my jars, then reading the instructions and seeing a four hour soak time. I think next year I will take a page from Ashley English and do my soak over night rather than having to wait around for it. The other thing I will consider is trying the cutting part in the blender. I did this all by hand, and I agree with my husband that the pieces may be too big. Lesson learned. I have read about successful relish being made in a blender, but I was rather leery at trying it the first time out of the gate. I cut up all my ingredients into as small as pieces as I could manage. It took a LONG time. Then, they went into the brine for a nice long soak. Finally the pickling brine was made up in the pot and the now drained and rinsed vegetables were added to the hot brine.

I got the recipe I followed out of my Mom's old Ball Blue Book from the 1960's. They refer to this as "cucumber relish" not sweet pickle relish. I did tweak the recipe in a minor way, cutting the turmeric way back because we are just not big fans of a super turmeric flavor in our pickles. I ended up with four nice jars of relish. I cannot wait to see what this stuff tastes like. It is as though we have bough the endless jar of relish since we still have not finished it, and it has been several weeks since I made the relish. I guess I will just have to take a jar with us on the camping trip and "field" test it on hotdogs fresh off the fire. Follow up on the flavor and things I would change or not change will be posted as soon as I get a good opinion on the results.

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