Sweet and tangy, this relish is great on hot dogs, but especially tasty in deviled eggs and potato salad. Peeling the cucumbers is optional, but results in a warm, sunny color that is a nice change from the more traditional green sweet relish.
This recipe can be doubled.
- 3 cups cucumber (seeded and finely chopped)
- 2 cups red bell pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
- 1 cup onion (peeled and finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoons salt (kosher or other non-iodized salt)
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch (or ClearJel)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Slice off the stem and flower ends of the cucumbers and compost or discard them. Peel the cucumbers (optional, but makes a dramatic difference in the color of the finished relish - see note above). Slice the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a small spoon.
- Chop the cucumbers very finely, or pulse a few times in a food processor. Transfer the finely chopped cucumber to a large, non-reactive bowl (no aluminum).
- Peel the onion and slice off the ends. Slice off the stem ends of the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Finely chop the onion and bell pepper, or pulse a few times in a food processor. You want the vegetables to be in tiny pieces, but not totally pulverized into a puree. Add the onion and bell pepper to the cucumber in the bowl.
- Add 2 tablespoons of kosher or other non-iodized salt to the vegetables and mix well. If that seems like a lot of salt, don't worry. You'll be rinsing most of it off later. The salt is there to draw water out of the vegetables, a step that results in better texture and flavor in the finished relish.
- Cover the bowl of vegetables and leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Transfer the vegetables to a finely meshed sieve or strainer and let them drain for a couple of minutes. Rinse them well with cool water and let drain again. Get out even more of the liquid by squeezing with your clean hands (squeeze hard), or by pressing the vegetables against the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Whisk the cornstarch or ClearJel into the cool or room temperature vinegar. Stir in the spices and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often to help dissolve the sugar and prevent lumps.
- When the syrup is boiling and becoming translucent, add the vegetables. Simmer the relish for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Scoop the relish into clean, hot canning jars leaving 1/2-inch of head space. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjust the canning time if you live at a high altitude).
Once the jars are processed and sealed, Sweet Pepper and Cucumber Relish will keep at room temperature for up to 1 year. It is still safe to eat after that, but the quality will decline. Once opened, store the jars in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, skip canning the jars in the boiling water bath and instead put them into the refrigerator. The relish will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
The flavor will be even better if you can wait a week before using the relish.