Thursday, August 5, 2010


August 073

Cucumbers have arrived in all their glory and a quite a bit of relishing has been happening around here!  Relishing in the fresh crunchy goodness…relishing in the endless tasty salads and snacks…relishing in all the relish!!!  Batches have been stored away for use throughout the coming months (most likely years…there’s a lot!), and one special batch bottled up in funky little jars have been tucked away for holiday gifts.  Though the thought of mountains of snow, crisp cold air, and bare trees is hardly imaginable in the hazy heat, and abundant growth of late summer it is still oh so lovely to tuck things away in preparation.  What could be more lovely than a jar full of summers bounty to give to those we love in the depths of winters cold.  The squat little jars, a cheery bit of ribbon, and a little holiday note….and mouthwatering cucumber relish.  Ahhh…I do love Christmas!

In canning and preserving I rely heavily on the Ball Blue Book.  In fact…if I’m not reading directly from it step by step as I go…it’s just because I’ve already memorized their instructions!!!  It is so reassuring to have a resource that you know will just what you need each time you need it!  I have used their cucumber relish recipe for years and absolutely love it!  For the batch pictured I was out of sweet red peppers, but had an abundance of green bell peppers so used those.  Very very delicious!  I have included the relish recipe from the Ball Blue Book, with my own tips of course!)

August 069 

Cucumber Relish                                                            Yield: about 6 pints

2 quarts chopped cucumbers (about 8 medium cukes!)

2 cups chopped sweet green peppers (about 4)

2 cups chopped sweet red peppers (about 4)

1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)

1 Tablespoon turmeric

1/2 cup salt

4 quarts cold water, divided

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 quart vinegar

2 sticks cinnamon

1 Tablespoon mustard seed

2 teaspoons whole allspice

2 teaspoons whole cloves

*I put all the vegetables through the meat grinder which cuts down on the chopping time significantly, and makes a great texture.*

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 2 quarts 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.  Bring vegetables to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until hot throughout.  Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust two piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling water or steam canner.