We are drowning in zucchini. I find them hiding under leaves I would have sworn I checked the day before but here they sit, as big as baseball bats and crying out to be used. Some is sautéed with diced tomatoes and onions and served over rice or pasta. Some is gently steamed and served as a side dish. Still more is shredded and bagged in two cup measures to be turned into fall breads and winter pancakes. Still, I’m left with a lot of huge green squash.
The solution to this bonanza of squash for me is zucchini relish. It has much to recommend it. First and foremost, it uses a lot of zucchini. I make double batches and the recipe I use calls for 10 cups to start, so I can get rid of a lot of squash with a double batch. It’s a heady recipe, using cayenne pepper and lots of turmeric and dried mustard. It also calls for the less usual cornstarch. This makes for a very thick relish that stays where you put it and never gets runny.
In case you’re thinking that where you put relish is only on a summer hot dog, think again. We love it on ham sandwiches and my potato salad calls for a ½ cup of relish. My deviled eggs use relish as an ingredient, too. Most pork dishes are better with some relish, especially a pulled pork sandwich.
This relish is a two-day process, a bonus when there is so much that needs attending to. I’m giving the single batch recipe here, but it doubles nicely. Even if you can’t eat this much relish it makes a lovely gift and sells well at the farmer’s market.
My thanks to Andrea Chesman for the recipe. I don’t think she’ll mind me sharing.
- 10 cups finely chopped zucchini (use a food processor-your hands will thank you)
- 4 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 5 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 large cayenne pepper seeded and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons celery salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Combine the zucchini, onions and green and red bell peppers in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the salt and toss to mix well. Let stand overnight.
- Drain the vegetables. Rinse thoroughly with cold tap water. Drain again. Transfer to a large saucepan.
- Dissolve the cornstarch in the white vinegar and add it to the vegetables along with sugar, chili, nutmeg, mustard powder, turmeric, celery salt and black pepper. Stir well and bring to a boil stirring to dissolve the sugar then decrease the heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until thick, stirring occasionally.
- Pack the hot relish in clean, hot 1 pint canning jars, leaving ½ inch head space.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes according the direction in the ball Blue book (or any other up-to-date canning guide. Let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. Store in a cool, dry place.)