While I missed Leave a Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Day (August 8th), I have been able to unload some of our overflowing garden bounty on family, friends and bookstore customers. We only planted four zucchini plants, but as usual, once these gigantors sense a certain heat and humidity factor in the air, they bound out of their carefully tended plots and start shooting tendrils and umbrella leaves over their poor neighbor plants.
Even when we hack our zukes back they keep reproducing, so I've been cooking up lots of sauteed zucchini to pack away into the freezer and grating it into my homemade vats of tomato sauce (cooked down in the crockpot overnight to reduce some of the heat in my warm summer kitchen). It's been too steamy of late to do any baking of zucchini bread or muffins, so I turned to my cookbook collection to get some ideas for canning zucchini. I once made a batch of tasty yellow zucchini pickles, but nobody but me would eat them, so I needed inspiration.
I found a Zucchini and Green Chili Recipe in my copy of the Time-Life Good Cooks volume on Preserving and subbed in some of my own Busillus frying peppers and some hot red pepper flakes for the green chilies and cut the sugar. The result was a really nice hot and sweet relish that we sampled on our sandwiches and got preserved into pint jars for later use. Here's my recipe for:
Spicy Zucchini Relish
(Adapted from Time-Life Good Cooks volume "Preserving")
2-1/2 lbs. zucchini, trimmed and finely chopped
2 green frying peppers or ancho chilies, seeded and finely chopped
4 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
5 Tbsp. kosher salt
2-1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. dry mustard
1 Tbsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. celery seeds
I used my trusty food processor to whizz up my zucchini, peppers and onions, and it had the added benefit of steering the onion fumes away from my tear ducts, but you can just chop up the veggies by hand if you like.
Toss vegetables with salt in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover and refrigerate over night.
The next day, rinse vegetables in a colander with cold water and squeeze out to draw out juices. Repeat again. Place vegetables and remaining ingredients in a non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil. Boil thirty minutes.
Pour into 4 hot pint canning jars and seal. Process in boiling hot water bath for 15 minutes. Let cool and seal. If your lids don't pop down, refrigerate them and use the relish within one month.
Makes 4 pints.
This recipe is being submitted to Weekend Herb Blogging, the weekly blog event that celebrates posts about vegetables, fruits, herbs and other plant ingredients that is headquartered at Haalo's lovely, tasty blog, Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. This week's guest host for WHB is The Cabinet of Prof. Kitty, a musical food blog (you'll have to check it out yourself for the fullest flavor....And a great salad recipe that can't be BEET.