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.

ZUCCHINI OR YELLOW SQUASH RELISH

  • Servings: 1-1/2 pints
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  • 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

BRINE:

  • 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

FOR THICKENING RELISH

  • 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