Proudly Homemade Antipasto Relish from Ball® Fresh Preserving

This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving.

Nearly every summer since 2012, I’ve partnered with my friends at Ball® Fresh Preserving to share recipes and spread the love of canning. Some years, they asked me to develop a few new canning recipes. Other years, I’ve trekked to New York or Indiana to offer canning demos.

This year, they’ve handed me an assortment of recipes. The task? Make and document the process of creating a preserve at home. I had to sit out the July recipe when my pregnancy took an unexpected turn in its final few weeks, but now that I’m back home with my twins, I’m making the time to hop back into the preserving fray (though admittedly, the time it takes me to prep, make, and write about a recipe has more than quadrupled).

This month, my featured recipe is this glorious, fragrant Antipasto Relish. It’s a sweet and savory combination of tomatoes, peppers, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, sugar, vinegar. It would be entirely at home with a spread of cured meats and cheeses. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I can also imagine it in place of a traditional tomato sauce on a homemade pizza.

I had a little bit that didn’t fit into the jars I processed, and my mom and I took turns nipping small tastes out of the jar while making dinner that it disappeared before ever making it into the fridge.

The bulk of the work of this relish happens on the front end and comes in the form of peeling and chopping. You peel and chop enough tomatoes make up about six cups (this took about three pounds of tomatoes for me), dice three multicolored peppers and a large onion, and slice up a couple carrots and a rib of celery. Click here for the exact proportion

Once all the prep work is done, you bring the rest of the ingredients together. First, you bundle up some bay leaves and peppercorns in either a length of cheesecloth or a stainless tea ball. Then you combine vinegar, brown sugar, salt, garlic, oregano, and the spice bundle in a large pot and bring it to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.

Then you add all the prepped vegetables, stir to combine all the ingredients and bring it to a boil. Once it bubbles vigorously, you reduce the heat so that you can maintain a gentle boil and let it cook down until it has the consistency of a thin commercial relish.

I think I cooked my relish down a little bit more than intended, because my yield was lower than the recipe indicated. However, knowing that yields can vary a lot, particularly when you’re working with tomatoes (mine were quite juicy), I’m not upset by it. Who could be upset with four half pints and one quarter pint of something so delicious?!

In the last half hour of cooking, prepare your canning pot and enough half pint jars to hold your finished yield. I used the Ball® Smooth Sided Regular Mouth Half Pint Jars. These jars are great if you plan on gifting your product, because the unadorned sides allow labels to adhere cleanly. It makes for a really lovely gift.

Once you like the consistency of the relish, it is done. Position a clean, wide mouth funnel in one of your previously prepared half pint jars and funnel in the relish, leaving 1/2 inch headspace (find all the necessary tools here). If you don’t have a headspace tool, make sure to pick yourself up a new Ball® Utensil Set. It also comes with a sturdy wide mouth funnel and a nice jar lifter, which are great if your old tools are starting to show signs of age. 

Make sure to use your bubbling tool to remove any trapped air bubbles, as a chunky relish like this one is prone to catching those little air pockets. Wipe the rim, position a new, clean lid, and screw on a ring until it is fingertip tight.

Return the filled and capped jar to the canning pot. Repeat this process, filling, bubbling, wiping, and closing one jar at a time, until all four half pints are full. Bring the canning pot to a boil and process the jars for 10 minutes (making sure to adjust your processing time if you live above 1,000 feet in elevation).

When the processing time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid from the pot and let the jars stand in the pot for an additional five minutes (this allows them to cool more gradually, which helps prevent siphoning and can also help develop a more robust seal).

Remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel. Let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours so they can fully cool and seal. Before storing, make sure to check that the seals are firm and unbending.

When the processing time is up, turn off the heat, remove the lid from the pot and let the jars stand in the pot for an additional five minutes (this allows them to cool more gradually, which helps prevent siphoning and can also help develop a more robust seal).

Remove the jars from the canner and set them on a folded kitchen towel. Let them sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours so they can fully cool and seal. Before storing, make sure to check that the seals are firm and unbending.

If you’re tempted by this Antipasto Relish, click here to get the full recipe.

You can also visit Ball Home Canning for new, seasonal recipes from Ball® Fresh Preserving, as well as to find new promotional offers throughout the summer! Right now, you can use their label maker to print your own, customized labels for your homemade preserves. 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ball® Fresh Preserving as part of a compensated partnership. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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