Zucchini or Yellow Squash Relish

In the 20 years that we had a country home, my husband had a huge garden where he harvested every kind of vegetable but was especially fond of growing zucchini and yellow squash.  I was overwhelmed with the quantity of produce and as a novice at country living, felt I had to use every single zucchini in the bottomless basket that he brought in every day.  I found a lot of recipes and this is one of my favorites – a sweet/sour relish that I made in large quantities and canned for the coming winter.

Now, that my husband has passed away and I’m living in a little bungalow with a small yard, I pick up my produce at the grocery store or farm markets and make a small amount of relish at a time – in this case, 1-1/2 pints.


  • Servings: 1-1/2 pints
  • Print

  • 2-1/2 cups chopped zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt


  • 3/4 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric


  • 1/2 Tblsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tblsp. white vinegar

In a medium sized bowl, combine the zucchini/squash, celery, onion, red pepper and pickling salt.  Cover and let set at room temperature at least 8 hours.

Drain vegetables, rinse and drain again.

In a large sauce pan, combine the BRINE mixture:  3/4 cup vinegar, sugar, celery & mustard seed, and turmeric.  Bring mixture to a boil, then add the drained vegetables.   REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND LET STAND FOR 2 HOURS.

Return the pan to medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Add the thickening ingredients:  Cornstarch and vinegar mixed together.  Let relish simmer at medium heat for 15 minutes.

Pour relish into sterilized jars and cap.  Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  I’ve found an asparagus steamer is good for processing just a few jars.  Let jars cool on a rack before storing.  Allow relish to cure for a week before using for best flavor.

This is a good web site  for information on canning and preserving foods.

Optional:  Add one-half of a medium dried red pepper to the jar after filling.  This “hot” version won a 2nd place ribbon at the Hamilton County Fair (Ohio) in 1988.

Yield:  1-1/2 pints 

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Lillian Applegate Westfelt was a mother of 4, grandmother of 6, and great-grandmother of 3. She was an 86-year-old widow living in a nice little bungalow with her oldest daughter and a beagle-dachsund named Addie. She passed away in November, 2018.

24 thoughts on “Zucchini or Yellow Squash Relish”

  1. Oh, this sounds wonderful, and such a great way to use some of the loads of squash that comes in during the summer. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. Lillian, your colander, bowl and serving bowl are so, so pretty! I’m loving them!
    Nice looking relish. I hadn’t heard of a relish using yellow squash before.
    Hope that finds you well 🙂

  3. Lillian, you are a breath of fresh air! I just love your blog. I grew up on a ranch, and have so many fond memories of learning how to make jams, pickles, even wine. I think your canned goods are nearly too lovely to eat. I got a lot of help from your post on how to clean white resin patio furniture. I will be trying that technique soon.

    1. Yes, I used to make bigger amounts of this several times during the summer. The recipe I posted was 1/4 of the original.

      INGREDIENTS FOR SIX PINT JARS OF ZUCCHINI/SQUASH RELISH 10 cups chopped zucchini or yellow squash 2 cups chopped celery 4 cups chopped onion 2 cups chopped sweet bell pepper 1/2 cup pickling salt

      BRINE: 3 cups white vinegar (5% acidity) 3 cups granulated sugar 2 tsp. celery seed 2 tsp. mustard seed 2 tsp. turmeric

      FOR THICKENING RELISH: 2 Tblsp. cornstarch 1/2 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)

      The method of making the relish would be the same.

      Thank you for your interest in this recipe. Lillian

      1. Thank You Lillian!This looks so good ,can’t wait to make it! Out of all the recipes I’ve looked at, this one I liked the best!

  4. I made this one year when my granddaughters were about 10 & 12 years old. I had some left so I thought I would share what I had left around Christmas time since I had so many compilments about the relish. I let my granddaughters hand deliver Christmas cards and the “Christmas” relish(the relish was green & red)and everyone truely loved it. My girls like doing it so much they wanted to do it for every holiday, Valentine’s day, easter, etc. Did we do other days, NO. That was enough. I truely enjoy this and so does my family. My son likes to use it for tarter sauce with fish.

    1. Thank you so much for your nice note. I had to laugh at the girls’ idea of passing the relish around for every holiday. That’s also a good idea to use it on fish.

      Actually, I just made another batch last month so we’d have some on hand for Memorial Day and all the summer meals coming up.

      Have a good summer with your children and grandchildren. Lillian

  5. Think I am fixing to get in kitchen and start slicing squash, celery.bell pepper…and get them all mixed up to sit a while. Recipe sounds yummy. We grew too much squash last year and I ended up freezing it…bad ! We decided not so many plants this year, and we have eaten it, gave away to 3 friends. So look out kitchen here I come !

    1. Most people seem to like this relish. I just made up a batch for Memorial Day and the good summer eating that’s coming up. I hope you like it. Lillian

  6. I made this relish with yellow squash last year and used splenda instead of sugar because my husband is diabetic. I also added coriander seeds which I love. I used a whole dried hot pepper in each jar. I am preparing to make more since I have a lot of squash ready in the garden. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. The coriander and hot pepper sound wonderful. I love to hear how others refine the recipe. Thank you for writing. Lillian

  7. This recipe looks great! I have been looking for more ways to use up my zucchini and yellow squash. I see some relish makings this weekend! It’s too hot out here in Michigan to do anything else outside so it’s going to be sewing and making relish this weekend!

  8. I just stumbled over this recipe. I so enjoy your blog. It is the end of the growing season for the CSA farm here in South Florida. I have a bunch of yellow squash from yesterday’s box plus celery and sweet Florida onions. My freezer is packed full from this winter’s bounty. I am going to try this to use up the extra. I have a couple of pint jars left. I will have to empty a half pint jar with jelly in the frig to use. Thought I would let you know.

    1. Thank you so much for writing. Your relish should be wonderful with the good Florida vegetables.

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