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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spicy Zucchini Relish - Success!

Pretty, don't you think?

Back in July of 2010, I used my Grandma Betty's zucchini relish recipe and added a couple of jalapenos to try to spice it up. I concluded that it was too sweet and just not spicy. The one flavor update that stuck was a smokey flavor that came from roasting the peppers. When one experiments with canning, sometimes it takes a loooong time to use up the marginal products. Luckily, my daughter decided that my homemade ketchup and the almost spicy zucchini relish made the best 1000 island dressing ever. (Just mix with a little mayo.) So, finally, the old zucchini relish is used up and, as if on cue, new zucchini showed up on my door step.

One day last week, we found two brown grocery bags on our porch - one with three overgrown zucchini and another half full of beautiful cherries. These were gifts from the gardens of two different friends who knew I could make good use of their excess home produce. The zucchinis were used in this revamped spicy zucchini relish. I still roasted the peppers, but used 6 jalapenos rather than 2. I did not use the ribs and seeds and it is nicely spicy - not hot enough to replace Tabasco, but a lot warmer than most relish.

Two and a half of the large zucchini resulted in 10 cups grated. I scraped out the seedy part before grating. 

The remaining half was used for these refrigerator pickles.


I like this spicy relish very much! If you get tired of making zucchini bread with your giant squashes, give this a try!

Spicy Zucchini Relish
10 cups grated zucchini
4 cups finely chopped or grated onion
2 bell peppers (color is your choice, but red sure is pretty!)
6 jalapeno peppers
5 Tbsp. salt

Wash and de-seed the peppers and place on a broiler pan. Broil on high, close to the flame for about 10 minutes, turning once. After they cool, dice fine.

Mix the zucchini, onions, peppers and salt together and let stand 6 hours or overnight. A lot of liquid will be drawn out of the vegetables. When salt soak is completed, drain and rinse thoroughly and allow to drain while preparing jars.

Prepare 6 pint jars and lids. Prepare boiling water bath.

Put the veggie mixture in a large pot and add:
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Mix well and heat on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn to medium-low and simmer until thick - about 35 minutes. Ladle into prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Serve with hot dogs, sausages, or stirred into tuna or chicken salad.


  1. susan, this is one I'm going to try! Thanks for linking it in. Cheers

  2. i have a question: do you absolutely have to soak the pepper and zucchini mixture for 6 hrs? i ask because i currently don't have a working kitchen (remodeling) and canning out of someone else's kitchen - so i'm at the mercy of their time schedule. what would it do to the recipe if i only soaked it for 3 hrs? thanks~!

    1. The purpose of soaking in salt is to draw out water and add seasoning. I've never soaked it for three hours. My guess would be that it would be OK. I would suggest that after you soak and rinse, you place the veggies in a colander lined with cheese cloth and bundle it up and squeeze as much moisture out as you can, then proceed. Good luck and let me know!

  3. I routinely skip this stage altogether and still end up with a great tasting relish.

  4. Do you have to bath for longer if we are at a 3,000 elevation?

    1. The USDA says to add 5 minutes for 1001 to 3000 feet and 10 minutes for 3001 to 6000 feet. I live only 30 feet above sea level, so I've never had to worry about this issue. A BWB for 25 minutes for pint jars would be more safe and would not change the qualify of your relish.