Relish is one of those things in the back of your fridge that never seems to go bad. You take it out every now and then for hot dog night, then, back it goes into the dark depths of the icebox.
If that just about sums up your relationship with relish, let me be the one to inform you that relish can be used for more things than just hot dogs. Made with tangy, sweet pickled cucumbers, a good relish is the perfect flavor addition to so many great snacks and meals.
Amazing Uses for Relish
When I think of relish, I think of summer days, barbecues, and family picnics. That seems to be the habitat that relish thrives in. However, there are some other not-so-well-known domains that it can be found in that you should definitely know about.
Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, and Egg Salad – Mix in a spoonful or two of relish and you’ll take bland picnic salads to the next level. This is a perfect balance of tang, sweetness (from the relish), and savoriness (from the salad).
Hamburgers – This one may be obvious, but trust me, the idea of putting it on a burger can easily slip someone’s mind. Just like with hot dogs, relish goes great with the savory flavors of a hamburger and ketchup. The tang from the relish will add a nice, light flavor to a heavy burger.
Sandwich Spread – At first thought, putting relish on a regular sandwich might seem strange, but when mixed in with other condiments, relish makes a great addition. Take some relish, mayo, tartar sauce, and mustard, mix them all together, and you have yourself a tasty sandwich spread.
Deviled Egg Filling – Deviled eggs have the tendency to be uninspired and a bit bland. Sneaking in some relish is a great way to give those deviled eggs a real devilish kick.
Meatloaf – One of the troubles with meatloaf is that it can dry out pretty easily when cooking. A simple way to prevent this is by putting a few spoonfuls into the mix before cooking. It’ll also add a new, interesting flavor to the dish.
Glazed Chicken or Pork – A sweet relish makes a fun glaze when cooking chicken or pork. It’s a healthier alternative to sugary glazes, and makes for a tasty meal.
Now that you know about some of the wonderful uses of relish, let’s get into the real meat and potatoes of this article — how do you make relish at home?
Simple Relish Recipe
When it comes to condiment making, relish is one of the more involved and time-consuming things to make. But, that only makes it all the more satisfying to accomplish. So, let’s talk about the recipe.
You Will Need…
- 3 cups finely chopped cucumbers (unpeeled)
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your relish)
- ¾ cup white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
- About 8 cups of ice-cold water
Makes 4 cups of relish.
Takes about 1.5 hours.
Step 1 – Drain the cucumbers and onions. Add the cucumbers, onions, and salt to a colander or sieve placed inside a bowl. Through the process of osmosis, the salt will drain most of the liquid from the cucumbers and onions. Let this sit for about 1 hour. You should gradually see liquid forming in the bowl.
Step 2 – Wring out the excess liquid. Now that most of the liquid has been drained out, gently press the cucumbers and onions to let out any excess liquid.
Step 3 – Make the syrup. In a pot on the stove, combine the vinegar, sugar, garlic, and mustard seeds. Let this boil until the sugar has dissolved. Continuously stir.
Step 4 – Combine ingredients. Combine the drained cucumber and onions to the syrup in the pot and let this simmer for another 10 minutes.
Step 5 – Refrigerate. Take your containers and spoon the warm relish into them. You can refrigerate these for up to about a month.
All it takes to make this delicious, sweet condiment is some draining, boiling, and canning. Anyone can do it, as long as you have the patience to chop up those cucumbers and onions. You can use a food processor, just make sure you don’t puree anything.
If you don’t feel like having sweet relish, you can decide to omit all sweetness and make a straightforward, tangy dill relish instead. All you have to do to make this happen is to make a few changes to the recipe above.
First, get rid of the sugar. If you want a nonsweet relish, this is the best place to start.
Next, during step 3, add in 2 teaspoons of dill seeds, and 1½ teaspoons celery seeds.
Finally, right after step 4, mix in ½ a teaspoon of turmeric.
A Helpful Tip
We recommend that if you aren’t into chopping, you look into purchasing a vegetable chopper appliance. Chopping can be a bore and a turn-off for potential cooks. Why avoid cooking delicious meals just because of the ingredient prep?
A good, heavy-duty vegetable chopper is a busy chef’s best friend.
This Mueller model is one of the highest-rated choppers on amazon.com and that’s why we’re recommending it for you. While this chopper won’t make uniform cuts, it’s perfect for whipping eggs, dicing tomatoes for salsa, chopping onions without having to deal with burning eyes, and relish-making.
Making relish can be a fulfilling, and delicious way to spend a weekend or summer’s day. The simple tang of relish is a great addition to so many meals, and best of all, it isn’t hard to make.
Plus, a nice jar of relish makes a great, thoughtful gift. Next time you invite family or friends over, let them go home with a pretty green jar of homemade relish. They’ll never forget it.