Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Granny's Zucchini Relish

I enjoy the process of pickling and canning more than I enjoy eating the final product. A pickle on a burger is okay, and I love my homemade summer sausage with a cheese, cracker and pickle tray at Christmas, but I've never stood at the counter and polished off a jar of dilled carrots. Husband has. So the arrangement works well, I get to do something I enjoy and he equally enjoys the results.

Ever since my granny gave me her zucchini relish recipe when I was about 20, I have loved making relish and pickling. But since having kids, especially the little crawly-type ones that are into things, I have found relish to require too many steps (so I don't have a picture of the relish to share). I've stuck to just pickles and jam the last couple of years. Next year I intend to make relish again--the boys will be that much older and we will be in the country where they can play on the deck or lawn where I can see them. Although this is a sleepy town our yard is not fenced so they haven't had the freedom to play without me right beside them.

Granny's zucchini relish is a nice golden colour and just sweet enough in a sandwich...well, it is one of my very favourites. I don't make it or eat it without remembering getting it from her basement--how grampa helped her with the canning because her arthritic hands could no longer turn the rings. I think the type of teamwork that older couples like that use to stay independent in their own homes is a real lesson to us. It takes commitment and love to help each other fill the gaps in our capabilities, and you don't need to be a senior citizen to admit that. They were married 58 years when grampa passed away in 2003. Granny is now immobilized due to a stroke this past summer. I take some comfort in keeping her old recipes alive, and in passing them on for other families to enjoy. I have several of her recipe books and many handwritten recipes as well. Some of the handwritten recipes are duplicates, so I plan to decoupage a memory box for my mom using the recipes and notes that are in granny's handwriting. I will also pass on some other favourites as time goes on, but for now:

Granny's Zucchini Relish: 

  • 12 cups ground zucchini (I peel it and remove seeds)
  • 4 large onions, chopped
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coarse pickling salt
Let stand overnight, rinse well, transfer to large pot, then:
  • Add 3 cups vinegar
  • 4 cups white sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • Boil 20 minutes and put into hot, sterile jars

I hope you try this recipe when you are searching for things to do with your zucchini glut next fall. What do you do with your zucchini crop? Are you fortunate enough to have inherited family recipes? If so, what ones, and have you done anything special with them?

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