Pickle Relish

I don’t know why it’s called – or why I call it – pickle relish. Hot Dog relish? Whatever. That delicious green stuff you put on dogs and maybe burgers too. You use it to make tartar sauce and Thousand Island Dressing. Some people put it in deviled eggs – no thank you – or tuna salad. How ever you use it, you probably buy that bright green jar of it and don’t even consider making your own.

But it’s so easy to make!! with minimal sugar and no chemicals. It doesn’t even take that much time. Here’s a picture of the batch I have on the stove right now – I am making a third of the original recipe because I am not going to process it, just put it in the fridge for immediate consumption:

The recipe I use comes from my go-to canning cookbook – “The Complete Guide to Home Preserving” by Ann Seranne. (You can order a “new” copy on Amazon for a mere $851??) Page 206: Hot Dog Relish. I made 1/3 batch.

Take 2 pounds of sweet peppers – you can use bell, Anaheim, poblano (if they are not hot) or a mixture thereof. I used a total of 2 Anaheims and 3 rather hefty bells from Arnold Farm. Grind the peppers with 1 pound of yellow onions in your food grinder. (Maybe you have an attachment, maybe a table side one. Otherwise, chop very fine.)

Now the recipe says to cover the peppers and onions with boiling water and let it sit for 5 minutes, then drain. I decided to skip this step because there was so much juice in the ground up peppers and onions, I hated to lose it. However, I think this part may have been important to the overall texture, particularly the onions, so I would say “do it”.

Put your drained, ground vegetables into a saucepot and add 1 and 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 2 Tbl. + 2 tsp. sugar, 1/3 tsp. each of mustard seed, dry mustard and celery seed, plus 2 tsp. kosher or pickling salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

This amount yielded about 3 pints of relish, which is plenty for one season at least! I’m not going to process it, just putting it in the fridge and start in on it next week, after the flavors have melded a bit.

Another thing I’ve enjoyed lately is a version of “pickled” shrimp, or a way to poach shrimp that yields a very tasty product. Take your shrimp – in the shell, de-veined – and figure out how much liquid it would take to cover them. (I am using 16/20s.) You can just pour some cold water over them, measure it and then proceed with the method. Let’s say you need 3 cups to cover the amount of shrimp you have. Put a mixture of 2/3rds cider vinegar (2 Cups) and 1/3rd water (1 cup) in a saucepot large enough to hold the shrimp. Add a bay leaf or two, some crushed peppercorns, maybe a few cloves, some mustard seeds, a crushed juniper or allspice berry or two, what ever you have in your pantry that you think would flavor the brine compatibly with the shrimp. Add some celery leaves, or a stalk of fresh parsley. I’ve pulled up a cilantro plant and put that in, roots and all. (but then I’ve got a lot of cilantro..) Add a bit of salt, about 1 teaspoon per cup of liquid. Boil this vinegar mixture for 5 minutes. Take it off the heat and add the shrimp, setting the timer for 60 seconds, and stirring the shrimp around in the hot brine to help them cook evenly. Take one out after a minute, check for doneness and if it’s not quite done, leave in for another 15 to 20 seconds. It doesn’t take long! The first time I did it for two minutes and that was about 45 seconds too long. (Don’t forget they will continue to cook a little, even after you drain them, unless you cover them in some ice to stop the cooking.) Drain the shrimp and eat as hot peel-n-eat style or chill in the fridge for what ever other use you may have in mind.

And don’t forget – ha! – we offer 16/20 IQF Gulf Shrimp conveniently here at the K-B Market!

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