Wednesday evening posed a real problem: tornado watches abounded, yet one of our dear students, Deb, was coming from Zanesville, Ohio (over a 2 hours drive), to dive into relishes with us crazy canners. But I couldn't get hold of her before she set out for Lebanon! I rang the other students and gave them the option of rescheduling the class, but most decided to come to the cannery anyway.
We weren't 10 minutes into a brief history of relishes when the sirens went off! We grabbed our notes and headed into the house for the basement! Between the kitty litter box and three childrens' toys and a plethora of "Oh, I'll refinish it someday" items, our basement had little comfort to offer!
Nevertheless, the storm abated and we were able to finish class, albeit an hour late! We made this delicious relish with zucchini, carrots, sweet peppers, celery seed, cider vinegar, and a few other ingredients. We made corn relish, too, and then when hunger struck, we enjoyed crackers, cream cheese, and our new relishes on top!
Here's an interesting tidbit from the class (if you want more - register for our beginner's classes!! Love to have you!): Relishes are not a condiment. Condiments are smooth, and you wouldn't want to tuck into an entire mouthful of catsup, would you? (OK, yeah. My nutty kids would...)
Rather, relishes are chunky, and may be served atop foods, or as a side dish and eaten with a fork. Relishes commonly contain vinegar, sugar, salt, vegetables, spices, and sometimes fruits. Categories of relishes include "chutney", "pickle relish", "salsa", "piccalilli", and more. The simplest relish, and the cheapest for manufacturers to make, is the ubiquitous pickle relish. Usually a bland combination of chopped cucumbers, vinegar, and sugar. If I have to make pickle relish, I zip it up with fabulous spices, maybe a little hot pepper thrown in.
Chutney is my favorite relish. I love our Cranberry Chutney: cranberries (of course), pineapple, onions, raisins, garlic, mustard seed... Puts a whole new perspective on those late-night Dagwood sandwiches!
Many thanks, again, to the students who braved Wednesday's storms. I am so very THANKFUL that everyone got home safely! Deb, you're a trooper and a heck of a dedicated canning queen! I had a blast, and Pete is loving all the new relish in our fridge. We're going to have a veeerrryyyy tasty cookout this weekend!