I am of the opinion that relish is one of the least-loved preserves on the condiment spectrum. I’m not exactly sure why this is the case, since it’s dead easy to make, uses up a ton of produce, and is a team player of an ingredient (with a jar of relish, you can make tartar sauce, salad dressing, or just a nice topping for grilled fish or chicken).
I’m afraid that I haven’t helped the cause of relish much over the years, as I’ve posted just one other recipe in all the years I’ve been writing this site. I think it’s high time to change all that.
For this debut relish of the summer, I come bearing a recipe for fennel relish. Now, I realize that not everyone likes fennel (including my mother, who actively avoids anything in the fennel/anise/licorice family), but I’m a huge fan. I regularly slice it thinly and quickly pickle it and was ready to take the next step and preserve it for a longer length of time.
I used the Hamilton Beach Stack & Snap Food Processor for the prep on this relish and it made very quick work of the two pounds of fennel bulbs, as well as the two onions that needed to be broken down. You get about 8 cups of grated fennel from the two pounds, and happily, the bowl of this processor is big enough to handle it.
Once the fennel is grated and the onion is minced (just put it in the bowl with the chopping blade and pulse until it is in bits), you combine all the ingredients in a pot and cook until everything is heated through. There’s no worry about hitting set points (like with jam) or minimizing heat exposure to protect texture (like with pickles). It’s a ridiculously stress-free preserve to make.
This recipe made about four pints, which felt like a huge batch after all the tiny batch projects I’ve done lately. But it’s so tangy and perfectly fennel-y, that I’m looking forward to finding all sorts of new ways to use it (I really want to pair it with some grilled bluefish).
Do you have a favorite relish to make with summer produce?
- 2 medium fennel bulbs (approximately 2 pounds)
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, roughly cracked
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Shred the fennel in a food processor or on a box grater.
- Finely mince onion (a food processor is easiest, but you can also do it with a knife).
- Combine grated fennel, minced onion, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, salt, fennel seeds, red chili flakes, and black pepper in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Cook the relish at a boil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the liquid has reduced some.
- Add lemon zest, juice, and parsley and stir to combine.
- Remove relish from the heat and funnel it into prepared jars, leaving approximately 1/4 inch headspace.
- Bubble jars well. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process jars in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
Recipe adapted from the Fennel Relish recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.