This time of year is always bittersweet. On one hand there's a veritable cornucopia of fresh produce with which to create. On the other hand, there's no surer sign the end of the growing season is nigh, than the bounty that is everything coming ripe at once.
Though we have our favorites, those things for which we've planted and purchased each type of produce, it seems like there is alwayseven in slim years like this oneplenty to be had for experimentation, too.
Some years I get stuck on soups, and there's nothing wrong with that. You really can throw anything in them, and when winter comes, they warm you up from the inside out while reminding you of the summer that's sure to come. For the past couple years though, my focus has shifted. When I'm standing in the kitchen, trying to figure out what else I can do with those three bushels of zucchini, my mind almost always turns to relishes and chutneys.
They're not warm like soups, but they're much more versatile, and somehow, when you have just a dollop of plum chutney atop a pork chop or a heaping spoon of zucchini relish on a sausage in March, it seems even more special. This is probably why those fancy restaurants can get away with such small portionsthings in tiny amounts always seem extra special.
Here are just a couple of our favorites. Don't be afraid to experiment with substitutions of whatever extra produce you have on hand. To be safe, simply process the entire batch for the longest length of time required for the individual ingredients.
- 12 cups zucchini, chopped
- 4 cups onions, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded & chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded & chopped
- 1/3 cup pickling or canning salt
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 TBSP nutmeg, freshly ground
- 1 TBSP ground turmeric
- 4 TBSP horseradish
- 1 chili pepper, chopped
Combine zucchini, onions, red and green bell peppers, and salt in a large bowl and let sit overnight.
Prepare jars, lids and canner.
Transfer vegetables to a colander and drain. Combine drained mixture and remaining ingredients in a large saucepot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer until thickened to consistency of commercial relish, about 45 minutes. Ladle relish into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before removing jars and allowing to cool.
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 pounds plums, pitted and diced
- 2 large sweet onions, diced
- 1/2 cup prunes, diced
- 2 TBSP ginger, freshly grated
- 2 TBSP mustard seed
- 2 tsp salt
- Zest of 1 lemon, cut into thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
Prepare jars, lids and canner. Combine sugar and vinegar in large pot, bring to boil. Add all remaining ingredients and return to boil. Simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Ladle into clean half pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Process for 20 minutes in boiling water bath.;Let rest 5 minutes before removing jars and allowing to cool.
Until next month, Happy Canning!
* Recipes from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and Sherri Brooks Vinton's Put 'em Up!
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