My family loves all sorts of pickled fruits and vegetables and now that they’ve got a taste for homemade they really don’t like storebought relishes, which tend to be overly sweet and also contain way more sodium than is necessary or healthy.
This zucchini relish is simple to make and tastes fantastic with roast chicken, turkey and pork, as well as on burgers and hotdogs. The quantities below can easily be halved if you want to make a really small batch; I tend to work with these amounts because it yields a few jars for my own fridge plus several for gifting to friends and family. In fact, this would make the perfect hostess treat for fall dinners, especially with Thanksgiving just around the corner!
You’ll note that the ingredients listed below are not precise; that’s simply because vegetables don’t grow in precise sizes! Your goal is to assemble about 12 cups of combined chopped vegetables – I find it easiest to measure the capacity of the bowl or container I plan to put the vegetables in to rest overnight (do this by filling with measured water) and then when I get to that level, I know I have enough vegetables. If you chop your vegetables in a food processor, this recipe takes just moments to assemble; after the resting time the cooking sequence is super fast too. You can even spice things up by adding a tablespoon of curry powder if that flavour profile appeals to you.
Wash all the vegetables. Halve 5 of the zucchinis lengthwise and cut into one inch pieces. Using a food processor (or you can do this by hand with a sharp knife), chop into pieces approximately 1/4 of an inch in size. Put them in a large bowl or food storage container (capable of holding 12 cups).
Use the same technique to prepare the onions, celery and peppers, adding them all to the zucchini. If you’re not yet at the 12 cup (approximately) mark, chop additional zucchini as needed.
Sprinkle the vegetables with the coarse salt and stir gently to blend.
Place a plate on top of the vegetables (it doesn’t have to completely cover them) then weight the plate down with a large glass jar (or a large glass measuring cup) filled with water.
Let sit overnight so the vegetables will release some of their moisture.
The next day, drain the vegetables in a sieve or colander and rinse well.
Prepare your jars by washing well in warm water and placing in an oven that’s been preheated to 230F. Turn the oven off. Place the two parts of the lids of your canning jars in a small pot of water and bring to a boil.
In a large pot, combine sugar, vinegar, garlic and seasonings. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
With a ladle and wide-mouth canning funnel, transfer the relish into the sterilized jars. As you fill each one, wipe the rim with a clean, damp cloth then immediately put the lid on and tighten it with your fingers.
The relish can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months. For longer term storage, or to store at room temperature, please follow instructions for safe hot water bath processing for high acid foods.
Makes about 12 cups of relish.