This refrigerator relish is very easy to make, even if you have never made pickles or relish before. It does not need to be sealed and will stay crisp and delicious in the refrigerator for a limited time. (For longer storage, process as you would any other relish.) Of all the pickles and relishes I make, this is everyone’s number one favorite.
What you will need:
25 small unpeeled cucumbers (4 to 6 inches long)
3 large onions
1/4 cup pickling salt
3 cups vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 green peppers
2 red peppers
On day one, chop the cucumbers and onions. With my food processor and the cutting blade, four quick pulses works well. Different food processors may give different results… chop the cucumbers and onions to the size you prefer. Put the chopped cucumbers and onions in a large container (a roasting pan is a good size for this) and sprinkle the 1/4 cup of salt over the top. Mix well so the salt will be distributed throughout the mixture. Cover the container and refrigerate for twenty-four hours.
The salt draws liquid out of the cucumbers and onions and makes them crisp. Be sure to use pickling salt… regular salt contains additives that will darken the relish and cloud the brine. Kosher salt does not contain additives and can be substituted, but because it is much coarser than pickling salt, the salt measurement will have to be adjusted upward.
On day two, add about four cups of cold water to the salted cucumber mixture (to rinse off some of the salt). Give the cucumber mixture a quick stir and immediately drain it in a colander until it is no longer dripping. This is an important step because excess water left in the cucumber mixture will dilute the pickling liquid.
To make the pickling liquid, simply combine the vinegar, sugar, and mustard and celery seeds. Boil this mixture for ten minutes, then set it aside to cool.
Next, chop the peppers. This recipe calls for both red and green peppers, which will make a more colorful relish, but I often make this relish with four green peppers because that is what is available from our garden. This year we are growing peppers in several shades of green, so I used both the light and dark greens in the relish I made this weekend.
The final step in making this relish is to mix the chopped peppers into the drained cucumbers and onions, then add the COLD pickling liquid. Stir everything together thoroughly and put in sterilized jars. The natural peanut butter we buy comes in jars that are a perfect size for my refrigerator pickles and relishes. Each jar holds approximately three and a half cups… this recipe will fill four of these jars with a small amount of relish left over for those family members who have been eagerly waiting for a first taste.