A “must have” for every fridge, an irresistible sweet and sour homemade canned zucchini relish that goes perfectly with eggs, cheeses, meats and much more. A FoodOlic granny’s traditional recipe!
Zucchini Relish is so simple to make and quite frankly it’s a “must” to accompany any type of meat, burgers, cheeses or hot dogs! Relishes are a religion where I’m from, people make their own homemade versions once a year and sous-vide them before winter comes, to make reserves for the cold months to come. If you open the fridge of a Canadian, the chances are, you’ll see a version of an homemade relish or two in there. There are some more popular than others, like the beloved “ketchup aux fruits” (fruits relish) which is basically a mix of onion, pepper, apples and pears.
This recipe is from ages ago, a typical handwritten recipe my grandma left me, which she probably got from her own mom, etc… Where I grew up, Quebec, the French speaking province of Canada, they call this ‘Ketchup aux Zucchinis‘ or‘Ketchup aux courgettes‘ because of its sweet and sour taste but the correct term should be “relish” since it is a marinated, then cooked veggie mix. This recipe was a great way, back in the days, to bring some vitamins in your system for those hard winters days.
To make a long story short, the origin of this type of “chutney” is coming from far far away in India. Then the Indians brought it over to the British where they started to make the “pickled fruits” chutneys to preserve the autumnal fruits throughout winter and from there got introduced in Canada, being back in the days a British colony. From India to Canada the product changed quite a bit and fruits got swapped for veggies, some spices got lost along the way and the condiment changed it’s name to ‘relish’.
Some people shreds their whole veggies with the help of a food processor or cheese grater to save some time but like my grandma, I’m doing it the traditional way, by hand (brunoise cut). It also looks more appealing with mini cubes. If you feel lazy though, go ahead and make it with the food processor. As for the rest of the technique, it’s quite simple, just check the video below.
The base of the ingredients are usually similar from recipe to recipe… what changes the most is the set of spices used. Some people like it “ultra” spiced up with loads of aromatics and others are more subtile. Some recipes will had celery seeds or nutmeg others mustard grains, but pretty much all of them use turmeric powder. I believe it’s a nice “wink” to its Indian origin. Turmeric doesn’t taste much, it’s mainly used for its color, plus it got plenty of health benefits (more info here).
I personally use saline herbs called “salicorn” to flavor my relish but I know it’s a hard one to find for most… instead, simply use a “popular” aromatic for this particular condiment: celery seeds.
*Try this recipe on top of a beautiful French omelette to bring it to another level! Check my recipe here!
So let’s get this homemade zucchini relish going!
Canned Zucchini Relish (small batch)
- 250 g zucchinis peeled and cut into small dices
- 1 onion cut into small dices
- 1/2 red bell pepper cut into small dices
- 1/2 green bell pepper cut into small dices *can substitute for red bell pepper
- 500 ml white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 450 g sugar
- 1 tbsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp saline herbs (salicorn) or celery seeds
- 1 tbsp big grain salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- black pepper
- Cut the onion and zucchini into small dices, add to a strainer inserted over a bowl with the big grains of salt
- Add weight on the veggies and let in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours up to a night
- Once ready, drain the residual water collected in the bowl
- Cut the bell peppers into small dices
- Add to the veggie mix with the turmeric powder, saline herbs (or celery seeds), sugar, vinegar and pepper
- Add the mix to a pot and bring to a simmer
- Cook for 30 minute, low heat
- 5 minutes before the end of cooking, add the cornstarch mix