I don’t eat hotdogs for just any relish though, it has to by my Mom’s. I try to make sure that I always have a back up jar in the cupboard because it’s a sad day when I go to retrieve the relish from the fridge and find that the jar has been scraped bare. If I’m at home I need only run downstairs to the fruit cellar where there’s usually a glorious stack of relish jars, begging to be popped open. If I’m away, I try to hold back the tears. A sad day indeed.
Quite frankly just seeing Mom’s relish in the fridge reminds me of home. Who would have thought a jar of relish could be comforting? It’s something I’ve grown up with though and I think most people have strong ties to items from their childhood. Sensory memories such as those associated with taste are particularly strong. Fortunately for me, I get to relive a little bit of my childhood on a regular basis as Mom’s zucchini relish can be made every year so I’ve got a constant supply. If you’d like a taste of my childhood, give this recipe a try. As with most canning recipes, this makes a big batch, but as it’s made with veggies fresh from the garden it’s got to be big to see you through to next year. Mom's recipe is handwritten in an old recipe book which is pretty to look at for its nostalgic value, but not so easy to read so I've copied it for you here.
Mom’s Zucchini Relish
3 large cucumbers, peeled and seeded
8 green tomatoes, peeled and seeded
3 sweet red peppers, seeded
3 apples and/or peaches, peeled and cored
1 small cabbage, cored
¼ cup pickling salt
6 cups cider vinegar
8 cups white sugar
2 T mustard seeds
1 T dry mustard
2 T celery seed
1 T turmeric
¾ cup flour with enough additional vinegar to make a smooth paste
Put first 7 ingredients into a food processor fitted with a shredding blade to grate. You’ll have to do this in stages and have a big bowl to put everything into.
Combine with pickling salt and allow to sit overnight. Drain well.
In a large pot combine the drained veg with the rest of the ingredients except for the flour and extra vinegar. Bring to a boil and then simmer 20-25 minutes.
Add the flour paste and boil for 5 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly.
While hot, pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Makes 8-9 pints.