This month’s Can Jam recipe is a direct result of an abundance of green peppers in my CSA share and a hot night at a ball game. I like a nice crunchy green pepper as much as the next girl, but when you come into the possession of ten of them in the course of two weeks, even the hungriest green pepper lover can’t keep up.
When I was growing up, my mom often made stuffed green peppers. She’d cook up a combination of ground beef, brown rice, onions and raisins. They’d get baked until everything was bubbly. In the last five minutes of cooking, a slice of muenster cheese would be draped across the top of each pepper half, to help bind it all together. I love these peppers, but they’re sort of heavy for the heat we’ve been having lately (and Scott doesn’t cotton to cooked raisins).
A few weeks ago, we went to a Phillies game. It had been years since I’d been to a live sporting event of any kind, but when Scott got the tickets from work, I was excited to go, mostly because I love a good stadium hot dog. To me, the perfect hot dog is served in a squishy bun and dressed with mustard, sweet relish and chopped onions (preferrably dispensed in bulk from a stainless steel container with a rotary handle that controls the output).
So, when it came time to make something for this cucurbits challenge, I had sweet pickle relish on the brain and peppers to use. What I did was mash up this Garden Relish recipe (because it used a lot of bell peppers) with the Sweet Pickle Relish in the Ball Book (page 52 of the 2008 edition). I skipped the green tomatoes called for in the Garden Relish, and instead made my main players peppers and kirby cucumbers, with some shredded onion for kick.
I made a point of increasing the vinegar a bit since I omitted the one ingredient (green tomatoes) that could have lent some additional acid to the party and added a pinch of red chili flakes to the array of spices, to help balance the sweet and tart flavors. I very much look forward to eating a scoop of this on a hot dog in the very near future. I’m also delighted to have cleared out all those peppers from my fridge. The other nice part of this recipe is that it gave me the opportunity to pull out the shredding disc for my food processor. It made incredibly quick work of the cucumber and onion.
Sweet/Spicy Cucumber Pepper Relish
- 6 cups chopped green pepper
- 6 cups shredded pickling cucumber
- 2 1/2 cups minced/shredded onion
- 4 cups apple cider vinegar divided
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
- Combine prepared green pepper, cucumber and onion in a large, non-reactive pot. Stir in two cups of apple cider vinegar and bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes, until the vegetables have cooked down a bit.
- Drain the vegetables and return to the pot. Add remaining vinegar, sugar and the spices. Bring to a simmer and cook for five minutes. Remove pot from heat.
- Fill jars, wipe rims, apply lids and tighten bands. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (starting time when pot returns to a boil).
- When time is up, remove jars from pot and let cool on a towel-lined countertop. When jars are completely cool, remove the bands and test the seals. The relish is good to eat immediately. Store sealed jars in a cool dark place for up to a year.