Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Canning Spicy Zucchini Relish

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.


Maria Verivaki said...

what a shame i didnt have this recipe earlier - the zucchinis are almost done for now!

Gluten free Kay said...

Hi Rachel,

Looks like your garden has been keeping you busy! I've been up late every night making pickles, drying tomatoes and freezing beans. Not participating in a farmers market this year. I decided to give away all my extras. When I need to catch up on my sleep, I take all my baskets of vegetables to the Chatterbox and let folks have their pick.

The good news about zucchini is my chickens will eat it! I have to cut it up for them, but that's okay.

Been building a second chicken coop and run. It's taking waaay too long. Construction is not my long suit. My brother is coming to help this weekend, so I hope he can solve my roof puzzles. Hope to post photos soon.

I've been using zucchini in place of pasta. I cut this slices of small zukes with a carrot peeler and saute them for a minute. Then I top them with a fresh tomato sauce, mushrooms and seasoned ground lamb. It's pretty and tasty.

Susan said...

Fabulous recipe for zucchini overflow! I like cuke relish like the next gal, but this looks really special.

Sophie said...

Sauteed zucch. is one of my favorite things to eat.

That is a gorgeous photo, such pretty colors :).

Jackie Lee said...

is that picture of this recipe? I'm making it right now and it is pretty orange, not so much green. I also think I whirred it too much in the food processor. *sigh* it seems really watery.

Rachel said...

Hi Jackie:

That is a picture of my spicy zucchini relish and it wasn't orange at all, just a little tinged yellow from the spices. Did you salt and squeeze the zucchini thoroughly? Maybe your zukes are more watery than mine were. I used medium sized zucchini.

Sorry to hear your experiment with this recipe is too watery. I would still try to salvage it by squeezing out your veggies and then adding the brine again.

Jackie Lee said...

I ended up cooking it a little longer than the directions said, and most of the liquid cooked off.

It tastes good, it just doesn't look like yours. :)

I do think I whirred it too much, it was kind of the consistency of relish when it came out of the processor, which made squeezing the water out really hard because it all squished through the strainer.

I'm going to try it again and cut the veggies myself this time. I'll let you know how it goes!

It really is good.

Jackie Lee said...

It's me again.Being the person I am I had to try it again. :) This time I cut all the pieces myself and it turned out great. It is still quite a bit more yellow than yours, but maybe our zukes are different or something, but it really looked like relish this time. :)

Susan Johnson said...

These are in the water bath as I type, but i tried the tiny bit of leftover (it really does make 4 pints), and it is deeeelicious! I used poblano chiles (same as ancho, except fresh), but threw in an extra one, plus added a couple of cherry bomb chilis, because my husband loves spicy food.

I also chopped everything (vs. using the food processor), and it turned out to be a good consistency.

I'm going to let it sit for a while, but can't wait to crack one of these open. Thank you for the great recipe!