Spicy Pickle Relish
I greatly enjoy growing cucumbers in my garden. You might even say I relish it! Yes, it’s a terrible pun, but you can bet, this summer when I’m out picking a plethora of cucumbers, I will still be giggling over that joke. If I am overloaded with cucumbers (and maybe no longer giggling as I try to peddle them off to friends and neighbors), there are two recipes I will use: Bread and Butter Pickles and this Spicy Pickle Relish.
How Spicy Is It?
A few years ago while browsing Pinterest, a version of this recipe caught my eye. With more than enough cucumbers to spare, I made a batch. We were so impressed by how easy it was to make and how tasty it was to eat! Only one thing was missing … it wasn’t spicy! I don’t know if I just had milder jalapeños that year but it needed more heat.
It’s not easy to judge how spicy something is going to turn out when using fresh jalapeños. The original recipe said 3-4 fresh jalapeños, but it didn’t say how big the jalapeños should be. The heat also varies if the peppers are store-bought or fresh-picked. I wish I could tell you how to control the heat level for this recipe. My best advice is this:
- This recipe calls for 3-5 jalapeños. You will get good flavor if you choose to only use three. You should get a good kick of heat if you use five. Want it really spicy? You guessed it … add more!
- If you want the relish to be on the spicier side, do not remove the seeds or the membranes inside the jalapeños. For milder relish, remove and discard them.
- I have also added crushed red pepper to the original recipe. It adds a consistent and controllable heat to the relish. Feel free to omit this if you want a milder result.
- If you make a batch of this relish and it does turn out too spicy for your taste, do not give up! Make another batch, leaving out the jalapeños (or using only one), and then combine a jar of each when serving to mellow the heat. Or just mix it with some of your favorite relish from the store.
Beyond Burgers and Dogs
Clearly this spicy pickle relish is a perfect topping for burgers, hot dogs, and brats. But suppose it is a really good year for cucumbers and you end up with quite the stash in your pantry? Use it in …
- deviled eggs or egg salad
- tuna salad
- ham salad
- tartar sauce
- Cuban sandwiches or these Cuban Meatballs
- homemade Thousand Island dressing
- Sloppy Joe’s
- this Dilly Cheese Ball
Spicy Pickle Relish
Spicy Pickle Relish
- 3 pounds cucumbers
- 2 cups diced yellow onion
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3-5 jalapeno peppers, diced
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup canning and pickling salt
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 teaspoons dill seed
- 3 teaspoons mustard seed
- 2 teaspoons celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon tumeric
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- Sterilze four pint-size canning jars; set aside. See note.
- Cut off the cucumber ends and discard. Shred cucumbers and place in a large glass (non-reactive) bowl.
- Place the onions in a food processor and pulse to finely chop. Add onions to cucumbers and sprinkle with salt. Allow to rest for 1 hour.
- Drain the cucumber mixture well; rinse with cold water and drain well again.
- Place red pepper, jalapeños, and garlic in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
- In a large pan, bring vinegar and remaining ingredients to a slow boil; simmer until sugar is dissolved.
- Add cucumber/onion and red pepper/jalapeno/garlic mixtures. Return to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- During this time, bring a small pan of water to a simmer.
- When ready to fill the jars, place canning lids in the simmering water.
- Fill each jar with cucumber mixture, leaving 1/2" of head space. Wipe the rim of the jar to clear any relish that may interfere with proper sealing. Place one sterilized lid on top and twist a canning ring on top. Ring should be secure but not overly tightened.
- Repeat with other jars.
- Process the jars for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
- Remove and cool completely. Ensure lids sealed before storing.