Sweet Hot Dog Relish

Found this delightful recipe to help freshen quick meals up…

Note: you have to set up the vegetables overnight in the refrigerator in order to remove the moisture and keep them crisp for the relish.

If you like relish on your dog, this is the stuff you like. But don’t limit its use to hot dogs: it’s also great in deviled eggs and in potato or pasta salads.

If you want to be totally traditional, use white distilled vinegar. I prefer the rounder flavors of apple cider or white wine vinegars.

Recipe can be doubled or halved, if you simply want one container for the next 3 months.

Overview:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Overnight in refrigerator: 24 hours

Yield: 3 – 4 half pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups seeded and finely chopped cucumber (from 4 – 5 medium cucumbers)
  • 1 cup peeled and finely chopped onion (from 1 – 2 medium large onions)
  • 1/2 cup seeded and finely chopped red bell pepper (from 1 bell pepper)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or other non-iodized salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch or ClearJel
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Relish 1Slice of the stem and flower ends of the cucumbers and compost or discard them. Slice the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon.

Chop the cucumbers very finely, or pulse a few times in a food processor. Transfer the finely chopped cucumber to a large, non-reactive bowl (no aluminum).

Peel the onion and slice off the ends. Slice off the stem ends of the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Finely chop the onion and bell pepper, or pulse a few times in a food processor. You want the vegetables to be in tiny pieces, but not totally pulverized into a puree. Add the onion and bell pepper to the cucumber in the bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of kosher or other non-iodized salt to the vegetables and mix well. If that seems like a lot of salt, don’t worry: you’ll be rinsing most of it off later. The salt is there to draw water out of the vegetables, a step that results in better texture and flavor in the finished relish.

Cover the bowl of vegetables and leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Transfer the vegetables to a finely meshed sieve or strainer and let them drain for a couple of minutes. Rinse them well with cool water and let drain again. Get out even more of the liquid by squeezing with your clean hands (squeeze hard), or by pressing the vegetables against the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.

Whisk the cornstarch or ClearJel into the cool or room temperature vinegar. Stir in the spices and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve the sugar and prevent lumps.

When the syrup is boiling and becoming translucent, add the vegetables. Simmer the relish for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Scoop the relish into clean, hot canning jars leaving 1/2-inch of head space. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once the jars are processed and sealed, sweet relish will keep at room temperature for up to 1 year. It is still safe to eat after that, but the quality will decline. Once opened, store the jars in the refrigerator.

Alternatively, skip canning the jars in the boiling water bath and instead put them into the refrigerator. The relish will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

The flavor will be even better if you can wait a week before eating the relish.

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