Zucchini relish is another way to preserve the summer glut of zucchini from your vegetable garden.
In this recipe, zucchini is combined with sweet bell peppers, and onions for a sweet and slightly tart flavored relish that will dress up your burgers, sandwiches, and picnic salads.
Tips for Making Zucchini Relish
This is a simple zucchini relish recipe from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Keep the ingredient measurements the same to maintain the safety of this canning recipe, but feel free to mix and match the types of summer squash, onions, and peppers to add slightly different flavors and colors.
Summer Squash: Any type of summer squash will work for this recipe. You can use zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, round zucchini, zepher, or pattypan. When selecting summer squash for relish, choose firm young fruit without blemishes, soft spots, or wrinkled skin.
Peppers: Any type of peppers can be used as long as the amount stays the same. I like mixing red, yellow, and orange bell peppers to add a pop of color.
Onions: Any type of onions will work for this recipe. You can use red, yellow or white onions.
Measure the vegetables after chopping: Chop the vegetables in uniform pieces and add to a measuring cup as you go until you reach the required amounts.
Use pickling salt. Be sure to use pickling salt, also known as canning salt. Table salt contains iodine and anti-caking agents that may add off flavors.
Use commercial vinegar with at least 5% acidity. Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apples and adds some nice flavor. White vinegar is clear vinegar made by distilling corn and rye. Choose an organic brand of white vinegar to avoid genetically modified corn.
Soak the vegetables in salted ice water: Soaking the vegetables in salted ice water for several hours helps the texture and flavor of your finished relish.
Equipment for Canning Zucchini Pickles:
- Water bath canner with canning rack
- 8 half-pint sized canning jars
- Lids and bands
- Canning tools: lid lifter, jar lifter, canning ladle, funnel, and bubble popper
- Plus basic kitchen supplies such as a large sauce pot, large bowl, colander, small pot, kitchen towels, knife, and a cutting board.
Steps for Making Zucchini Relish
Step 1: Prepare the zucchini or summer squash
Wash the zucchini well to remove any residue and soil. Trim and discard a 1/4-inch slice from both ends of the zucchini. The blossoms contain an enzyme that can cause soft pickles, so it is important to remove this. Chop the zucchini and measure as you go until you reach the required amount. Add the zucchini to a large bowl.
Step 2: Prepare the peppers
Wash the peppers well. Cut them in half and remove the stems and seeds. Chop, measure, and add the peppers to the bowl.
Step 3: Prepare the onions
Peel the onions, chop, measure, and add to the bowl.
Step 4: Soak the vegetables in salted ice water
Sprinkle canning salt over the zucchini, peppers, onions, and toss to combine. Cover with crushed ice or ice cubes and water and let stand for 2 hours. Drain and rinse well with cold water to remove the extra salt.
Step 5: Prepare your canning equipment
Gather your canning equipment, wash, and boil your jars. Keep the jars and lids warm until you are ready to can.
Step 6: Make the relish brine
Add the sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and vinegar to a large pot. Bring the pot to a simmer and then add the drained vegetables to the pot. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Can the zucchini relish
Pack the relish into hot jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Run your bubble popper through the jar to remove bubbles, and add the lids.
Step 8: Place the filled jars into the canner
Place jars into the water bath canner. Adjust the water level so it is 2-inches over the tops of the jars. If adding water, use the hot water from your small pot.
Step 9: Process the jars
Bring the canner to a boil and process the pickles for 10 minutes (adjust for altitude if needed). Let the canner cool, remove the jars, and let them cool completely. Date, label, and store in a cool location.
Zucchini Relish Canning Recipe
Prepare the vegetables:
- Add the chopped zucchini, peppers, and onions to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle salt over the vegetables and toss to combine. Cover with crushed ice or ice cubes and water and let stand for 2 hours.
Prepare your canning equipment:
- Wash your jars and lids in warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
- Place jar rack into water bath canner, set jars in the canner, add water to cover jars, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize.
- Warm your lids in a small pot of water over low heat. Keep jars and lids warm until ready to use.
Cook the zucchini relish:
- Drain the vegetables and rinse well to remove the extra salt.
- Add the sugar, celery seed, mustard seed, and vinegar to a large pot.
- Bring the pot to a simmer and then add the drained vegetables to the pot. Stir to combine and simmer for 10 minutes.
Can the zucchini relish:
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Use your jar lifter to remove the warm jars from canner. Drain and line up the jars on the towel.
- Use the canning funnel and ladle the relish into the jars leaving 1/2-inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles with the bubble popper and wipe the rims.
- Use the magnetic lid lifter to lift lids out of the warm water, center lid on the jar, and screw on band until it is fingertip tight.
- Using jar lifter, place jars carefully into water bath canner on the jar rack leaving space in between them. Once jars are all in canner, adjust the water level so it is 2-inches over the tops of the jars. If adding water, use the hot water from your small pot.
- Cover the canning pot and bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Process the jars for 10 minutes. When processing time is complete, turn off heat and allow the canner to cool down for 5-minutes.
- Spread a kitchen towel on the counter. Use a jar lifter to lift jars carefully from canner and place on the towel. Allow the jars to cool for 12 to 24-hours. You should hear the satisfactory "ping" of the jar lids sealing.
- After 12 to 24-hours, check to be sure jar lids have sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid flexes up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate jar and use up within a few days.
- Remove the screw on bands and wash the jars. Label and date the jars. Store in a cool, dark location. Allow 4-5 weeks for the relish to develop their flavor. Use within a year.
This recipe was originally published August 23, 2009. It has been updated with additional information.
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