Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Cucumber Relish

This is rather like that bright green member of the popular trio of sloppy toppings for burgers and hot dogs; only not bright green, more of a khaki-yellow. That's because I see no reason to add food colours to everyday foods - the occasional bit of icing is about my limit for that stuff. It's also not loaded with corn syrup, which is likewise a good thing. But by all means, put it on burgers and hot dogs. Also good on grilled cheese, mixed with a bit of mayo to accompany fish, or as an ingredient in what I insist on calling funeral sandwiches*, which I will not doubt get around to posting in a while.

3 250-ml jars
15 minutes to prep, overnight, then about 1 hour to finish

Cucumber Relish
Prepare the Vegetables:
1 quart pickling cucumbers
1 medium sweet onion
1 medium carrot
2 tablespoons pickling salt

Wash the cucumbers very well; they should be scrubbed to get all the grit off. Peel the onion and cut it into wedges, and peel the carrot and cut it into thick slices. Chop the vegetables in a food processor, in about three batches, until finely chopped. Put them into a colander with the salt mixed in, and set them in a cool spot to drain for 8 hours, or overnight.

Note: if you prefer to use 1 small red or orange bell pepper (or half of a large one) instead of the carrot, feel free.

Finish the Relish:
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1 dried red chile
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon hot ground mustard powder
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Put the canning jars into a large pot, with water to cover them by an inch. Bring to a boil, and boil them for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grind the allspice and chile together, fairly fine. Add the celery seed and bruise it. Mix these with the mustard powder and seeds, and place them in a large pot. Add the sugar and vinegar.

When the canning jars boil, turn on the heat under the spice and vinegar mixture. Bring to a full boil.

Put the lids on to boil for 5 minutes about now, in their own little pot of water.

When the brine has boiled for a minute or two, add the vegetables, well drained. Bring them to a boil, stirring regularly. When they are boiling, fill the prepared jars and seal them, according to manufacturers directions (with the lids boiled for 5 minutes, in other words.)

Return the filled jars to the boiling water bath, and boil for 15 minutes. Remove to cool, check the seals and label the jars. Store in a cool, dark spot and keep refrigerated once opened.

*Generally known as ham salad. And yes, this is too damned much boiling for this kind of weather. Sorry.

Last year at this time I made Marinated Beans with Spiced Walnuts.


Kevin Kossowan said...

I agree. Somehow putting food coloring in quality food seems vastly ridiculous. I remember it being called for in a pistachio gelato recipe to make it green. Cause really, who wants a nut-gelato colored like a nut?

Mandi Presley said...

Thanks for the recipe! Trying it today with my bountiful harvest from the garden.