Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zucchini overflow

Seriously, what to do with more zucchini?! It's an every-summer problem that has plagued mankind for decades...OK, it has plagued me, at least, for 5 years. I ran across a couple of recipes the other day for zucchini relish. Like sweet pickle relish, but with, well, you know. Wow, good way to "get rid of" some of those green goblins sitting on my counter and in the crisper.
Again, as is my habit, I took a survey of the recipes out in the web-o-sphere and then took the best parts of the ones I liked to make my own.

It was very easy--chop, mix, heat, stir. I also added the extra "preserve" step, but you don't really have to do that, if you're going to eat most of it soon, or keep one jar for yourself and give the rest away with the priviso that the recipients keep it in the fridge and eat it within a month.

The amounts listed here make about four half-pint jars, but as always you can scale it up with no problems. I wouldn't double or triple the hot pepper flakes, though.

I roughly chopped about 3 medium zucchini, a medium onion, and one bell pepper (I used red for color), and then ran it through the food processor. The initial rough chop helps to keep the processor chop uniform. Put the mixture in a colander over a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons salt to draw out the water in the vegetables. Let them stand about an hour or so. Drain the water off and then rinse the chopped vegs. and drain well again. Combine about a cup and a half of sugar, 1 to 2 teaspoons celery seed, 1 teaspoon mustard seed, and a cup of cider vinegar in a saucepan. Add a pinch of hot red pepper flakes, or however much heat you want. I bet you could also add one small, finely minced jalapeno pepper to your vegetable mixture if you like it really hot and really sweet. Bring this mixture to a boil. Add the chopped, drained vegetables, stir, and simmer about 10 minutes.

If you are going to simply refrigerate the relish, cool it off a bit before putting it in your containers, some to keep, and some to give away. If you are going to can it, pack your hot relish into your hot prepared half-pint jars, leaving about a quarter-inch of headspace, and put on your lids and rings. Process 10 minutes in your boiling-water canner. Let sit overnight without jostling and make sure your lids have the concave-vacuum seal.

I haven't tried the relish on my hot dogs yet, but we did make tartar sauce (mix w/mayo) for our fish sticks the other night and it was excellent--tasted just like real sweet pickle relish! So...another solution for those green monstrosities on our counters.

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