This summer at The Little Lake House we included several different hot pepper varieties in the garden. Not only do we love spicy foods but so do many of our friends and we love sharing our spicy goodies. Hot peppers have created some wonderful relishes, pickles and salsa around here, and a few experiments in mustard and hot sauce for chicken wings.
Now while we do often grow many of the super hot peppers like ghost chilies and Trinidads, most of those are just too hot for the majority of our friends. Jalapenos and Serranos are very popular choices for spicy recipes that won't melt your face off quite as bad. Removing the seeds and webby membrane and you scale back the heat significantly, making jalapenos, especially, perfect for pickling, candying, adding to pickles and kicking up the impact of relish recipes.
While most peppers find their way into salsas I like to find creative ways to use them in recipes outside of the realm of spicy/hot/Mexican/salsa. Being a fairly new relish convert, just seemed natural to me that the peppers make their way into a relish recipe! This relish is really delicious and has loads of flavor- perfect for topping a grilled brat. Like most relishes, this recipe starts the night before, tossing the veggies with salt and chilling overnight to bring out the excess water. This step can be skipped if you are like me, and can't wait to get it in the jars.
Spicy Pepper Pickle Relish
6 cups cucumber, shredded or finely chopped
4 cups jalapeno, finely chopped*
4 red bell peppers, finely chopped
2 large red onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons salt
2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons celery seed
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons dried dill
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
* Remove seeds and membranes to keep the heat level down.
Toss the vegetables with the salt in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, rinse and drain thoroughly. Set aside.
In a large stockpot combine the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the rinsed and drained vegetables. Return to boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pack the relish into hot canning jars to 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims and fix lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool overnight before checking seals.
If this recipe sounds familiar to you, it should! It's a very close variation of my all time favorite zucchini relish, with different vegetables. The cucumber stays a little cruncher than zucchini and if you chop it instead of shredding it, you retain even more texture. That crunchier texture is the perfect topping for burgers, dogs, brats, sandwiches of all kinds. The jalapeno gives it a nice heat without being too mouth-melting.