Jalapenos in your kitchen? How to make world class hot relish (and several other adaptations).
Every spring I plant one jalapeno plant and every summer and fall I'm faced with the culinary challenge of what to do with the dozen after dozen after dozen small, green and hot peppers this plant produces. I don't know why my local Home Depot consistently stocks hot-dammit-hot jalapeno plants or if maybe it has something to do with my soil? Could that possibly make sense? I don't know. Whatever the reason, my jalapeno plant (and poblano plant for that matter) produces copious numbers of hot! peppers.
Jalapenos go on pizza, with anything Mexican, and can be stuffed. These are the obvious. I also roast them in the oven or on the stove top in a grill pan and put them in soup and in the freezer. In large quantities. Even over the course of a winter, there are only so many jalapenos a person can use! I dehydrated some for good measure, although, seriously, I'm not sure what to do with them now. I made a chili paste of sorts but was only about 70% satisfied with it.
Even though it's a little late for the jalapeno harvest in most of the country, this entire jalapeno conversation came up the other day when a friend of mine continued to rave about how the relish I'd given him has become his favorite of all time. Jalapeno, cabbage, and onion relish had been the answer to my final jalapeno harvest. I perused some relish recipes and adapted for ingredients already in my kitchen. In my humble opinion, this recipe turned out to be an epic win. Collateral benefit is it took less than an hour from start through clean up.
The only potentially tricky step in this process is the canning, if you aren't familiar with the process. Because there is so much vinegar in the relish, the process is a little easier than canning something without vinegar. You'll need a half dozen or so small canning jars. Grab a big stock pot. Fill it about 2/3 with water. Boil the water. Put the jars and lids in to boil for at least several minutes. You won't have to put the filled cans back in the water bath though if you keep them sterile throughout.
Step by step instructions for the relish:
Like pesto, relish is very adaptable. I used half a head of red cabbage because I had half a head of red cabbage. Green would've been fine. Though not as pretty. Unless you used red onion. Which would've also been fine. Carrots? I think yes. Maybe even parsnips. I would say no to beets, but that's because I detest them. You might want to give them a go. Not a fan of hot relish? Use banana peppers. I'm not a fan of bell peppers in relish...but you wouldn't be making relish for me, so maybe you'll try bells and it'll be amazing. The vinegar can be played around with too. The recipes I looked at mostly called for white vinegar. I didn't have enough regular white so did half and half with rice vinegar. As always, you get the idea.
My favorite two ways to eat it are with white beans or on vegetarian hotdogs/sausage. If you aren't vegetarian, it works especially well with things like pork chops, hotdogs, sausages, and bologna.
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Hi, I'm Donna. Long time artisan/creative. Full time work in nonprofit world. Mother of two adult sons. Currently, also mother of two cats.
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