Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yup, they're taking over the kitchen.....Zucchini!

Last week, I opened the last pint of Zucchini Relish from the batch I made in 2012. I panicked.....really.....I did. I panicked because my zucchini plants had done nothing but drink water since May. Not a thing. Not the green one, anyway. The gold zucchini had put forth a few fruits. Not a lot, though, and not very fast. 

Where was I going to find enough zucchini to make relish?

I went off to my sewing day, thinking about zucchini. While there, I mentioned my dilemma. What was I thinking?

By the end of the afternoon, I had all the zucchini I needed! One should never forget that, while one's own zucchini may not be fruiting out, someone else might be having the opposite problem. TOO MANY ZUKES!

So, next day, the saga of Zucchini Relish began.

My friend, Laura, gave me a box of zukes, including these giants. For relish, small zucchini are lovely and easy but the big ones, which not too many people want, are really great.

I sliced the biggies in manageable lengths and trimmed off any scars or discolorations. These were fresh from the garden, which I recommend, when canning.

I cut the smaller ones in the right size for our grinder.

The large ones....

....needed seeding....

....with a tablespoon..... get them ready.

All set.

I had two big kettles of zucchini.

Aren't these gorgeous?

Peppers all cleaned, trimmed and cut, ready for the grinder....

....with the onions.

I attached the grinder to the Kitchen Aid mixer.

And my DH, did the grinding for me. It goes really fast. You can use a hand grinder, too, or a food processor.  Mix the veggies with salt, at this point, to help the product release water.

Here it is, in our biggest stainless steel bowl, lined with four layers of cheesecloth.

Cover it with plastic wrap.

Let it stand for 2 hours. Then, I transferred it to a very large collander.... rinse well....

....and squeeze.....

and squeeze.....

....until it's almost dry.....

....ready to cook.

Mix up the vinegar, sugar and spices in your largest stock pot....

......and mix in the veggies, well.


Bring it almost to a boil and simmer 10 minutes until all is steamy and lucious yummy. By now, even the neighbors two houses away know you are making pickles.

Wash your jar lids in hot, soapy water.

Sort out your rings.

Inspect your jars and toss out any with nicked rims or cracks or chips.

Here's my assembly area with a plate to fill the jars on and a canning funnel to make filling easier. I use the damp, clean cloth to wipe the rims before placing the lids and rings.

All set to go.

Here are the filled jars in their rack at the boil.

Cover and process ten minutes. I always add a little vinegar to the canner water to keep the jars from gathering lime during processing.

They come out quite clean and pretty. Whew! I don't have to do that for another couple of years.

Here's the recipe:

Zucchini Relish

Grind fine:

2 c. chopped zucchini (about 3 medium)
 1 c. chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1/2 c. chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 small)
1/2 c. chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 small)

Mix well in a very large bowl and sprinkle with

2 T. salt

 Mix well again and cover with cold water,

Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. 

Measure the product and add, for every 4 cups of product:

1 3/4 c. sugar
1 c. cider vinegar
2 t. celery seed
1 t. mustard seed

Combine remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes.

If the product doesn't seem wet enough, add another mix of the vinegar/sugar/seasoning recipe to it and cook it again. You don't want it too dry for fear the veggies won't get pickled properly. Better a little too wet, than too dry. If too wet, you can adjust it as you fill the jars.

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 4 half-pints.

Obviously, I used a lot more zucchini. I had about 16 cups of product  (zucchini, onion and peppers), after soaking and rinsing, so I multiplied the recipe for the vinegar mix accordingly.  My effort yielded 15 1/2 pints of relish.