After I finished my blog on relish, “I relish the time making Relish” I looked back and I saw that I had not even covered half of my favorite relishes. Earlier I talked about Pepper Relishes, both Sweet and Hot. I think it is now time to cover some fruit relishes. And maybe a couple that are not fruit.
How about starting off with Pear Relish. I am not sure what parts of the country have the “Old Fashioned” hard Pears, but here in Georgia it is a fruit used for many purposes. The most famous use of the hard pear is Pear Preserves. I will cover that in a soon to be blog about Grandmothers and their Preserves. What I am going to use the hard pear for is relish.
Hard Pears are called that because well, they are hard. Seems too easy, but they are rock hard and if you get hit by one either by accident or someone throws one at you, you will know what I mean when I say hard. The peel is usually a dirty brown color. The pears you see in the grocery, the Bartlett probably being the most popular, are generally soft pears. They are very, very juicy and easy to eat. Hard pears are much harder than a Granny Smith Apple. I have heard of people who have lost teeth trying to eat a hard pear. Well enough talking and photos, on to Pear Relish.
To make Pear Relish start with 14 cups pears, peeled, cored and chopped small, 3 cups green bell peppers and 3 cups red bell (both peppers seeded, and chopped small), 4 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon pickling spice, 1 tablespoon salt (Kosher, Sea or canning), 5 cups cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon turmeric. Combine all ingredients in large cooking pot. Heat to a boil while mixing very well. Cook for 30 minutes. Hot Pack into prepared 8 ounce canning jars to within 1/4 inch of jar top. Prepared canning jars are jars that have been washed and dried. Hot Pack means to load the jars with hot product. The domes and rings that come with the jars need prep also. The domes should be placed in boiling water before putting on jars. Rings need to be rinsed off. Before putting on domes, clean the rims of the jar with a damp paper towel. Do not over tighten the rings or under tighten. If you over tighten air will not be able to escape; under and water leaks in. So “Finger Tighten”. Process in a boiling water bath with at least two inches of water over the tops of the jars for 20 minutes. Let set undisturbed over night. In the morning check for unsealed jars, they have to be reprocessed with new domes. Let set in a cool dry place for at least a week to cure. I mean cure in that the pears and all the other ingredients sort of marry. They come together in taste and consistency.
To make Hot Pear Relish just substitute 1 cup green Jalapeno‘ Peppers and 1 cup red Jalapeno’ Peppers and just use 2 cups each red & green bell peppers. Make sure you seed these peppers and remove the white membrane. The seeds make the taste hotter and the membrane will make it have a bitter taste. If you want more heat make it 2 cups each Jalapeno’ and 1 cup each bell peppers. I have never made it with just Jalapeno or anything hotter. Pear Relish is supposed to be a sweet relish. There are plenty of burn-you-out relishes out there. I love Hot Pear Relish on Brats from the grill, that and brown mustard. A beer would not be bad, but iced tea will also do, whatever is your pleasure. It can also be on burgers with sliced tomato. I have to stop this, I am getting hungry.
Next is a major favorite. This is our most used relish in our house. Mary Lynn makes all sorts of things with this relish. My favorite is tartar sauce for fish. She uses this in place of sweet pickle relish. The relish I am talking about is Green Tomato Relish.
You start with 4 quarts peeled, cored and chopped green tomatoes, 2 quarts chopped cabbage, 2 cups chopped green bell peppers, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, 1/2 cup Kosher or canning salt, 2 tablespoons mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon celery seeds, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, 4 1/2 cups cider vinegar. Sprinkle salt over vegetables and mix thoroughly; let stand covered 3 to 4 hours. Drain the liquid thoroughly, press to make sure all liquid is out. Add sugar, spices and horseradish to vinegar, simmer for 15 minutes. Add vegetables and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and hot pack into prepared 8 ounce canning jars. Place domes and rings. Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let set overnight. In the morning check for unsealed jars. Let cure for about 1 week, but longer is better. Two weeks should be long enough.
Hot Green Tomato Relish use half Jalapeno and bell. You could just use all Jalapeno. Again this is not a “Hot” relish.
Our next project is Corn Relish. We use 3 pounds thawed corn from the grocery (usually 2 large packages), 3 cups chopped finely red & green bell peppers, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, 7 cups chopped onions (milder variety), 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups corn syrup, 2 tablespoons kosher or canning salt, 7 cups cider vinegar, 1 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon celery seeds, 1/2 cup chopped celery, 1 tablespoon citric acid. Mix all ingredients completely in a large cooking pot, bring to boil. Cook covered for 15 minutes. Hot pack into 8 ounce prepared canning jars. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Let set for 1 week, relish should be ready to enjoy.
Got two more relishes for you, the last will be pickle. Next will be Red Tomato Relish. This relish is completely different from green tomato relish, not just because it is red…..duh! It is different in the way you use it. Growing up my grandmother would make this (minus the bell peppers, they didn’t agree with her) and heat it. We would eat it on all sorts of things like cooked cabbage or dried beans, or just all kinds of things that people down on farms ate. Come to think of it, my grandmother never had ketchup on the table, we used this relish in its place. Well let’s not make me go down memory lane, let’s get cooking.
Red Tomato Relish starts with 12 cups large ripe tomatoes that need to be chopped, 3 cups fine chopped celery, 8 cups finely chopped sweet onions (Vidalia’s are the best), 6 tablespoons kosher or canning salt, 4 cups small chopped bell peppers (optional if they don’t agree with you) 1 1/2 cups sugar. In a large cooking pot combine everything except the sugar, bring to a boil and simmer 2 hours. Add sugar, boil for 2 minutes. Hot pack into prepared 8 ounce canning jars. Process 30 minutes in a boiling water bath. If you have a pressure cooker, process jars 10 minutes in a pressure cooker at 15 pounds. If you use the pressure cooker let cool completely before removing jars. Don’t try to speed up the process, this will only lead to disaster.
Hot Red Tomato Relish is made the same way, just substitute Jalapeno’ peppers for bell. Try this relish is you don’t try anything else. It is just fantastic.
I think I like our products a little too much. Well we wouldn’t have made them if we didn’t like them. That is something that surprised people at every show we did. They would ask for something we did not make. I would say that I did not like that, so we didn’t make it. They would always say that people would buy things even if I didn’t like them. I would always come back with “I don’t make it because I don’t like it. If you ask me how was XYZ I would have to tell you I didn’t like it” Now how many people would buy it then. I never lied to my customers. If they ask about something, I would tell them about it and how I used it and how my families have used it in the past. I also told them that if they didn’t like what they bought to bring it back and I would trade for something else or refund their money. In all the years we did our business I never gave a refund or traded. So I guess that means being honest with your customers is the best way. They could also look at me and tell I had eaten plenty of something.
Something else I would tell people, Never buy food from a skinny chef. Two possibilities; #1. They did not eat their products, and #2 they did. I always said that number 2 was the worst answer if they didn’t get it. IF you don’t get it, they were skinny because they made BAD food. Well enough of my story, on to the last recipe, just about everybody’s favorite no matter where you grew up.
Sweet Pickle Relish, 1 quart chopped cucumbers (towards the small size), 2 finely chopped sweet onions, 1 cup chopped green and 1 cup red bell peppers, 1 tablespoon Kosher or canning salt, 3 1/2 cups sugar, 2 cups cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon celery seeds, 1 tablespoon mustard seeds. Combine cucumbers, onions and peppers in large bowl; sprinkle with salt and cover in cold water. Let stand 2 hours then drain, press to make sure all liquid is out. Combine sugar, vinegar and spices in large pot, bring to boil. While boiling add vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes. Hot Pack in 8 ounce canning jars. Process 15 minutes in boiling water bath. Let sit for 1 week before opening.
If you want Hot Pickle Relish just add some Jalapeno’ Pepper with the seeds left in.
When you are measuring spices to use, be careful. Too much can change the taste. Too much celery seed will bland down whatever you are cooking so much that you might as well throw it away and start over.
I still have a few relishes that I wanted to cover. But I guess my talking got away from me again. Seems like that happens all the time. We all enjoy talking about things we love and canning and the jelly business was something I loved more than just about everything (people not included). When we did shows I would talk so much that we would have a crowd around the front of our booth. People saw the crowd and wondered what was gong on. They stopped and before they realized, they were part of my crowd. I had favorite jokes and stories to tell all the time. Our good friend Mark Thomas, wild life photographer, had a booth next to us at the Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain, Ga. After the first year he said that he could almost tell my stories and jokes by heart. He said that some of them never change and some just get better. That was just about the nicest thing he could have said.
It is that time again. You know that part about sending me suggestions for future blogs and stuff like that. Well here goes….
Please let me know what you would like to make, or any ideas you have for the next blog. Just drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also don’t forget that our web page is up and running! It is www.austinhouse.biz Don’t be shy, order something and try it. Make something and order ours and compare. Send a gift to anyone! The ideas and ways to use our site is limitless! Don’t be the last to try us, what we don’t have is operators standing by, but we do have a website standing by……
Don’t keep my blogs a secret, and pass the word on to your friends, neighbors and family members. They just might make something and share with you.