Zucchini Relish

Zucchini Relish

Zucchini Relish (Sweet & Dill)

I know zucchini relish sounds weird, but you’ll miss out if you decide not to at least try this recipe. My grandma served us this relish our entire lives and we grandkids all devoured it on our hamburgers, hot dogs, in potato salad, tuna salad and with cheese and crackers. 

I always assumed it was made with pickles, but no. All of those years she’d be canning relish, she’d made it with zucchini! She made both sweet and dill relish, and she used zucchini for all of it.

She wasn’t trying to be sneaky or anything, the ingredients just never came up until a few years ago when I planted my first garden, including the entire packet of zucchini seeds, and literally had them coming out my ears. Her advice to me was to can all the extra zucchini as relish and pie filling.

My mind was blown!

We’ll have to discuss the zucchini apple pie filling in another post. Right now I’m going to share my grandma’s recipe for zucchini relish, both dill and sweet, with you. I always make this in a huge batch and can it, so you might want to halve or quarter the recipe.

Overgrown zucchini work fine for this recipe as long as you core it (remove and discard the center with the large seeds) and peel it if the peel is tough. If the peel is still soft you don’t need to peel it.

This recipe is just the teeniest bit spicy, but you can omit the jalapeno peppers and cayenne pepper if you don’t like any heat. My kids don’t love spicy and they gobble this zucchini relish down. The hubs would prefer that I double the jalapenos and cayenne. 

Sweet Zucchini Relish

Ingredients for Sweet Zucchini Relish:

  • 12 cups of finely chopped zucchini (about 12 medium zucchini)
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoon ClearJel (modified cornstarch made to withstand heat)
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the zucchini and onion using the blade attachment in your food processor.
  2. Place the zucchini and onion in a large, non-metallic bowl, and sprinkle the salt overtop. Use your hands to evenly mix the salt throughout the zucchini. Cover and let sit 10+ minutes.
  3. Drain the zucchini in a colander, and rinse well with cool water. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. 
  4. Mix the ClearJel into the sugar. Place the chopped peppers, sugar/ClearJel, and vinegar into a large pot. Add the mustard seed, nutmeg, turmeric, celery seed and pepper. Stir to combine, then add the drained zucchini. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, sterilize 7 one-pint jars and lids to hold relish. Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Clean rims and screw on sanitized lids/rings.
  6. Process 30 minutes at 10 lb pressure in your pressure canner.
  7. Remove jars from pot and place on towel, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, make sure the seal is tight and store your jars as desired. 

 

Garlic Dill Zucchini Relish

I love both sweet and dill zucchini relish. Most of my kiddos and my hubs prefer this one, though. I still always make at least one batch of the sweet zucchini relish and two batches of this dill zucchini relish. This one is especially yummy stirred into potato salad!

This one is slightly spicier than the sweet zucchini relish recipe above; it’s nice and garlicky and not sweet at all. 

Ingredients:

  • 12 cups of finely chopped zucchini (about 12 medium zucchini)
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 3 chopped red bell or anaheim peppers
  • 5 chopped jalapeno or pablano peppers
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 5 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the zucchini and onion using the blade attachment in your food processor.
  2. Place the shredded zucchini in a large, non-metallic bowl, and sprinkle the salt overtop. Use your hands to evenly mix the salt throughout the zucchini. Cover and let sit 10+ minutes.
  3. Drain the zucchini in a colander, and rinse well with cool water. Squeeze out excess water and set aside. 
  4. Place the chopped onion, chopped peppers, sugar/ClearJel, and vinegar into a large pot. Add the spices. Stir to combine, then add the drained zucchini. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, sterilize 7 one-pint jars and lids to hold relish. Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Clean rims and screw on sanitized lids/rings.
  6. Process 30 minutes at 10 lb pressure in your pressure canner.
  7. Remove jars from pot and place on towel, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, make sure the seal is tight and store your jars as desired.

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