Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sweet Pickle Relish

So I had never pickled anything...ever! I decided that I would try it this year, and guess what? It was SUPER easy! I didn't make my own pickling spice (which I have the recipe for, I just didn't want to spend the time measuring everything out...plus buying all of the spices that I didn't already have!) but I bought a super easy mix from Bi-Mart for around $2.40 per bag...which made about 5-7 pints of relish each. Perhaps next summer I will make my own pickling spice and try it from scratch. ;)  I got the pickling cucumbers from Unger Farms for just $0.50 per pound! It worked out great!

Step one: Chop up all the cucumbers. If you want a chunky relish then do it by hand, if you want it in smaller pieces, then put it in your food processer and pulse until you have your desired piece size. I personally go for chunky, so my hubby and I sat up late watching some tv and cut up all the pickles. Measure them into 6-8lbs per batch.

Once you have the 6-8lbs then put 1/2 cup of pickling salt on the cucumbers and mix thoroughly.  Once it is mixed, cover with plastic wrap and let sit for a minimum of 2 hours, this gives it time to draw moisture out of the cucumbers.
After you have let it sit, it is time to drain the liquid that was pulled out.
Now is the time to work on the pickling part. In a large pot (not aluminum, or it will burn) put in the sugar (or if you prefer you can use honey in the place of sugar, my rule of thumb is about 1/2 cup honey per 1 cup sugar). You mix in the vinegar and the premixed package. Follow the directions on the package if you are using a premixed package.
This is the Relish mix that I used. I found it at Bi-Mart, but I'm sure you can find it other places!

This is what it looks like once it is all mixed.

Once it has come to a boil you stir in the drained cucumbers.

 Heat through for the time specified on the package and then ladle into your prepared jars! (sterilize your jars by placing them in boiling water for about a minute each, and prep your lids by having them sit in hot water for at least 5 minutes.)
Make sure you remove any bubbles that are in there. I use a canning funnel to limit some of the mess. Add liquid as needed. Once all the jars are filled, clean the rims of each jar by wiping it down with a clean cloth. I just use a paper towel. Take your prepared lids and finger tighten the rings on the jars. Place them in a water bath caner and make sure that they are covered with water and process for 15 minutes. *if under 1,000 ft. altitude* Remember that the time does not start until the water is at a full boil. Once the 15 minutes are up, turn off the heat but do not remove the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Remove from the water with a jar lifter (which you can get for under $4 at most stores). I place mine on several layers of towels to save my table from damage.
This batch I used honey as the sweetener.

This batched used regular refined sugar.

Let this sit for a minimum of 24 hours before using and then chill before serving! Super easy, and SO much better than the store bought relish!

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