So I totally made up this recipe, and it worked. If you like sweet relish, and if you know how to make bread-and-butter pickles, then you can easily adapt your B&B recipe to make your own sweet relish. (So long, store-bought relish with its high fructose corn syrup, thickeners, etc!) This is the real deal, and you–and your hot dogs–will be very happy if you put up some homemade relish this summer.
The method is simple: chop up cucumbers and bell peppers (add in some onions, if you want), simmer the veggies in your B&B brine along with your B&B spices, strain and then can your finished product. You can use my method with your favorite B&B brine and spices, or you can follow my recipe.
sweet cucumber relish
Yield: About 5 half-pints
Time required: About 1 hour
2 pounds cucumbers (any pickling variety), finely diced
1 pound red bell peppers, finely diced
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup filtered water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 cup salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons celery seeds
large sauce pan
hot water canner (large pot and canning rack)
half-pint mason jars (cleaned and dried) with new lids
jar funnel and ladle
Sharpie or other magic marker
Prepare the veggies: Finely dice the cucumbers and red peppers. Yes, this will take a while.
Prepare the B&B brine: Combine the vinegar, water and sugar in a large sauce pan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Let’s make relish! Add the veggies to the brine along with all the B&B spices (salt through celery seeds). Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer the relish for about 10 minutes. Lightly strain the relish.
Ladle the relish into jars, leaving a 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and put the lids on the jars. Screw the lids until fingertip tight — just until you feel resistance and the jar tries to turn on its own. Do not over tighten the lids.
Put the jars in the canning rack and, while wearing gloves, carefully lower the rack of jars into the hot water (it should be steaming heavily but not boiling). Process the jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. Then, while wearing gloves, carefully lift the canning rack out of the hot water and remove the jars to a cutting board to cool. Tighten the lids slightly.
Check the lids after a few minutes (or after you start to hear “ping” sounds). The “button” part of the lid should be drawn inward so that the lid is flat. If any of the jars failed to seal, keep the jar in the fridge to use as a fresh product.
Once the jars are cool enough to touch, use a Sharpie to label the lid with the contents and date.
Finally: Grill hot dogs. Top with sweet relish. Repeat throughout the year!