Cucurbits. They are some of my favorite things. I remember lovely watermelon rind preserves from my childhood. I thought that would be good to make. My mother never would make them. She said they were too much trouble. When faced with the reality, the thought of peeling and chopping all that watermelon suddenly made me understand how she felt.
Zucchini Relish. That sounded yummy to me. All the vegetables, except the onion and carrots were grown in my yard. I found the recipe in Well Preserved by Mary Ann Dragan. If you only knew what I’ve been through this past week, you’d be amazed that I did this at all. But in an effort to restore a sense of normalcy to my life, I set about to grate and chop a bunch of veggies into a tasty, spicy treat. I have already eaten a big spoonful on my purple hull peas and it is very good. So here goes with the recipe:
- 6 cups grated, unpeeled zucchini
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 2 cups finely chopped onion
- 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 2 – 3 finely chopped, seeded jalapeno peppers
- 1/4 cup pickling salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups herb vinegar
- 2 tsp celery seed
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp, each, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tsp dry English mustard
Combine the vegetables and pickling salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Cover with ice and let sit in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, prepare the preserving jars. Drain the vegetables, rinse well and squeeze out, using cheesecloth lined colander.
Combine sugar and 1 1/2 cups of vinegar and spices in preserving pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the drained vegetables. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. In a small bowl combine the cornstarch and mustard. Pour in the remaining half cup of vinegar and stir ’til smooth. Pour into relish. Cook another 5 minutes, stirring, until liquid thickens.
Remove from heat. Spoon into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe the rims and put tops on jars. Process in hot water bath 15 minutes. Makes 4 pint jars.