Saturday, August 7, 2010

Zucchini Relish

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This week I'm putting up some items with the bountiful garden harvest my friends and family have shared with me.  First up is this Zucchini Relish - let me honest with you, when I was a kid the closest I would get to eating a zucchini would be if it was in a bread or muffin.  Until my thirties believed that the only good vegetable was one that could be completly disguised or doused with an incredible amount of ranch dressing! Pickles counted as a vegetable for me and so did french fries.  Then all of a sudden I started craving the weirdest things.... things that were green (and no I'm not talking about mold!) things that you could actually count on a food pyramid.  I don't know why my taste changed and I really don't care.  Now I'm just wondering why did I miss out on so much yumminess before??  There are still some things I dislike (brussel sprouts, asperagus and cauliflower come to mind) but in my new fascination with flavors of the healthy kind, I'm trying things I never tried before. 

I have never made relish but it seemed simple enough to try.  My in-laws have a garden and their zucchini is abundant so when asked if I wanted some I eagerly nodded my head up and down.  I looked through several different zucchini relish recipes and leaned towards this one with a few modifications.  Please make note.... I am not a professional.  You try these recipes at your own risk (I always wanted to use that disclaimer!! LOL) If you have questions about canning preserves it is best to ask your home extension office.

Zesty Zucchini Relish
(adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for quantity)

6 c zucchini, finely chopped
2 c onion, chopped (I used red onion as it was what I had on hand)1 1/2 bell peppers, seeded & chopped (I like the red and yellow bell peppers so that is what I used )
2 1/2 T canning salt
1 1/4 c sugar
1 1/4 c white vinegar
1/2 T nutmeg
1/2 T ground turmeric (careful, this stuff will turn your plastics yellow!)
2 T prepared horseradish  (I wanted it to be more zesty so I used 4 tablespoons)
1 jalapeno, including seeds chopped  (one wasn't enough for me so I used two jalapenos)

In a stainless steel bowl put the zucchini, onion, peppers & salt  and cover.  Let sit for 12 hours or overnight at room temperature. Drain & rinse with cool water. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible with your hands.

Place the drained vegetables in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Add the sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, turmeric, horseradish & chili pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce & allow to simmer for about 45 minutes stirring from time to time. It is done most of the liquid has been reduced & it has the consistency of a thin relish.

Prepare 5 half-pint jars by boiling them for 20 minutes. Boil the lids for five.
Fill the hot jars with the hot relish leaving 1/2-inch head space. Clean the rims. Put the top on & hand screw on the neckbands. Place the jars back into the boiling water & process for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat & let sit for 5 more minutes. Remove the jars, do not dry them, and let them sit for 12 - 24 hours to cool. If the top does not pull downwards the relish has not been processed properly, either refrigerate and use or reprocess.

  Ok, those are the instructions one should follow.  However, I read the directions incorrectly and accidently added all the ingredients together and instead of tossing it out and doing over I just let the entire mixture set over night.  Flavor wise it was spot on and since I had it cooking at a high temperature for the 45 minutes I wasn't too concerned.  It is yummy good!

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