My Favorite Corn Relish

We’ve had a sensational corn season here in southwest Ohio.  Every week, I drive to my favorite farm market, Blooms and Berries in Loveland, Ohio, and pick up some great bi-color sweet corn.  Many times this summer, my daughter and I have had a supper of corn-on-the-cob, a big tossed salad and some kind of cobbler or Brown Betty made with fresh fruit – now, that says summertime!

Whenever I had an ear of cooked corn left over, I cut it from the cob and put it in a bag in the freezer.  Finally, today I had enough to make my favorite corn relish.  When I was a child in the 1930s-40s, the items I loved the most on the dinner tables of my grandmothers and my great-aunt were the pickles and relishes, and corn relish was my favorite.  This recipe from a book called FANCY PANTRY comes the closest to what I remember from those long-ago days.

CORN RELISH

  • Servings: Makes 3 cups of relish
  • Print

  • 3-1/2 cups fresh corn kernels*
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • 1 Tblsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/8 tsp. ground hot red pepper
  • 1-1/4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

*You can substitute thawed frozen corn (drained) or well drained canned corn if fresh isn’t available.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the corn, onions, red and green pepper and celery.

Add the brown sugar, pickling salt, mustard, mustard seed, turmeric, celery seed, hot red pepper, vinegar and water.  Stir everything together and place pot on medium-high heat.

Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Lower heat and simmer mixture partly covered until it has thickened slightly – about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle relish into hot sterilized jars, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, counting the time after the water has started to boil again after inserting the jars. I like to use an asparagus steamer for processing just a jar or two.

This batch makes about 3 cups of relish.  I filled a one-pint jar and processed it.  A half-pint jar was filled and not processed, but will be refrigerated.  In either case, allow the relish to cure for two weeks before using.  The refrigerated version should be used within two weeks after the curing time.

The pint jar will be stored away for Thanksgiving when I like to have on the table a sampling of pickles and relishes that I’ve made that year.   Here are some other pickles and relishes I’ve made this summer that I plan to have on my Thanksgiving table this year:

This is a good website with information on canning.

Harvest Relish (One Quart)

toppixExactly 14 years ago today, September 7, 1995, I made this relish for the first time, making a big batch so I could use up some more of the tomatoes and cucumbers my husband was continually hauling into the house from the garden in a big oversized wicker basket.  We had to leave our big garden behind over 8 years ago when my husband was very ill with Alzheimer’s and he passed away 5 years ago.  So, today on the anniversary of the first try at this recipe, I made a quart of this relish for myself and for my daughter when she visits.  We especially like it served alongside grilled pork tenderloin.  The recipe is from the book, The Forgotten Art of Making Old Fashioned Pickles.

HARVEST RELISH

  • 2 cups cucumber, peeled, seeded and ground
  • 2 cups tomato, peeled and chopped (prefer Roma)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Chinese mustard
  • 1-1/4 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground red pepper

Place cucumber, tomato and onion in a large pot.  Add sugar and vinegar, stir to blend and cook until vegetables are tender – 20-25 minutes.

pot

In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, flour and turmeric.  Stir into the cooked vegetable mixture, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25-30 minutes until mixture has thickened.

Add salt and pepper, mixing well.  Pour into sterilized jars, cap and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (for pint and half-pint jars).

ladle

Yield:  One quart (2 pints) 

3jars

German Stuffed Mango (Green Pepper)

grpepper

When I was growing up in Cincinnati’s East End, our German neighbors enjoyed something called a “Stuffed Mango”.  Most families made their own, but the Stuffed Mango was also available in the small groceries and delicatessens in the area.  I was in high school before I realized the “mango” was a green bell pepper.

In the 1980s when my husband and I lived in a spot called Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, we had a huge garden and a lot of green bell peppers.  My German husband recalled the old stuffed mango with fondness and before the days of the internet search, I tried to find a recipe.  I wound up combining several sources, including The Ball Blue Book of 1943 and a wonderful 1983 cookbook by Mary Anna DuSablon, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury*.  It wasn’t a difficult process to make the peppers but it did stretch over two days, all of the work being worthwhile when my husband tasted the mango and loved it.

I haven’t made the peppers for many years, but decided to reduce the recipe considerably and make just two which are not processed and are kept in the refrigerator.  They should be used within a week or so of their two-week curing period.  Here is the recipe for two German Stuffed Mangoes.

GERMAN STUFFED MANGO (Green Pepper)

  • Servings: 2 stuffed peppers
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  • 2 medium/large green bell peppers
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • Cold water to cover

Stuffing

  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp. pickling salt
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. mustard seed

Brine

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Slice off the stem ends of peppers, cutting down about 3/4″ from top, reserve tops.  Core and seed peppers.  In each of two one-quart containers (Cool Whip containers work well), place 1 Tblsp. salt plus about half a container of cold water, stirring to dissolve salt.  Add one pepper and its top to each container.  Pour enough cold water over the peppers and their tops to cover.  Weigh down with something like a small custard cup to be sure peppers remain submerged.  Let stand on counter overnight.

weight

The next morning, drain and rinse the peppers and tops in cold water, then set on a rack to drain.

In a large bowl place the chopped cabbage and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of pickling salt.  Stir and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, covered with a clean, dry towel.

towel

After 3 hours, add celery seed and mustard seed to the cabbage.  Stuff this mixture into each of the peppers, place the tops on and fasten shut by wrapping each pepper and top several times around with white cotton string.

tied

In a medium pan bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and immediately place the peppers in the brine, using a slotted spoon.  Allow to cool until lukewarm, occasionally spooning brine over the peppers.  Then, carefully remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place in a refrigerator container.  Pour the brine over the peppers, cover and refrigerate.

stuffed

Peppers should be allowed to cure in the refrigerator for two weeks.

When ready to serve, remove the pepper from the brine and cut the string.  Remove the top and slice the pepper in half.

serving

Serve with sandwiches or as a relish/pickle with meals. 

Both the slaw and the pickled pepper itself are very tasty.  One-fourth of a large stuffed pepper is enough for me but my husband used to easily eat a whole pepper and the little bits around the top stem along with a couple of grilled bratwursts.

*This book, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury, is a great look at “The Queen City’s Culinary Heritage” which includes a lot of German recipes, but also Italian, Greek, French and other ethnic food, as well as southern dishes (Cincinnati is right across the river from Kentucky).  There are also some wonderful sketches of Cincinnati landmarks.  I haven’t seen the book in local stores lately but it occasionally shows up on eBay.

Fresh Corn-Zucchini (Squash) Relish

cornOver twenty years ago when my husband and I lived in rural Ohio on the Indiana border with a huge vegetable garden, I tried a lot of recipes to deal with the surplus produce.  In 1985, I found this recipe for Fresh Corn Zucchini (or Yellow Summer Squash) Relish in a cookbook called, “Seasoned with Sunshine”.  I made it on July 21 and the next week entered it in our Hamilton County Fair (Cincinnati).  It won a blue ribbon and became a family favorite.

Since I’m by myself now in a small bungalow with no garden, I pick up produce at the farmer’s market and make one quart of the relish.

  • Servings: 1 quart (2 pints)
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  • 2 cups fresh corn, cut from cob
  • 3/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. pickling salt
  • 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/4 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 cups zucchini or yellow summer squash, unpeeled, sliced 1/4″ thick (cut larger diameter slices in half)

squashbwl2In a large pot, combine all ingredients EXCEPT ZUCCHINI/YELLOW SQUASH.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

first

Add zucchini/squash slices and simmer uncovered on low heat for 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

zucch

Spoon relish into sterilized jars – one quart or two pint jars.  Relish can be kept in the refrigerator for use within a month or so, or processed in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes for longer storage. 

funnel

2jars

I could refrigerate the two pint jars for my own use, or even more fun, keep one jar and make up the second one for a neighbor.  It’s easy to dress up the giveaway jar with a circle of fabric placed between the jar cap and lid.  Yes, I think I like that idea best.  Now, which of my neighbors would enjoy some relish today?

topper

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.

ZUCCHINI OR YELLOW SQUASH RELISH

  • 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

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