A “must have” for every fridge! A homemade sweet and sour canned zucchini relish that goes with eggs, cheeses, burgers and much more.
Canned Zucchini Relish is so simple to make and quite frankly it’s a “must” to go with any type of meat, burger, cheese or hot dog! Relishes are a religion where I’m from, people make their own homemade versions once a year and sous-vide them before winter comes. In order 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 a homemade relish or two in there. There are some more popular than others, like the beloved “ketchup aux fruits” (fruits relish) which is a mix of onion, pepper, apples and pears.
This recipe is from ages ago, a real old handwritten recipe my grandma left me, which she probably got from her own mom, etc… Where I grew up, in Quebec, the French-speaking province of Canada. They call this ‘Ketchup aux Zucchinis’ or ‘Ketchup aux courgettes‘ because of its sweet and sour taste. However, the correct term should be “relish” since it is a marinated, then cooked veggie mix. This recipe was a great way, back in the day, to bring some vitamins into your system for those hard winter days, therefore trendy.
To make a long story short, the origin of this type of “chutney” comes 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. From there, it came to Canada, with the help of one of the first British colonies. From India to Canada, the product changed quite a bit. The fruits got swapped for veggies, some spices got lost along the way, and the condiment name changed to ‘relish.’
Some people shred their whole veggies with the help of a food processor or cheese grater to save some time. For my part, 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, make it with the food processor. As for the rest of the technique, it’s pretty simple; check the video below.
The base of the ingredients is usually similar from recipe to recipe… what changes the most is the set of spices used. Some people like it “ultra” spiced with loads of aromatics, and others like it more subtle. Some recipes will have celery seeds or nutmeg, others mustard grains, but all use turmeric powder. I believe it’s a friendly “wink” to its Indian origin. Turmeric doesn’t taste much, it’s mainly used for its colour and has plenty of health benefits, so why not? (more info on health benefits of Turmeric here)
I use saline herbs called “salicorn” to flavour my relish, but I know it’s hard to find for most… instead, I use a “popular” aromatic for this condiment: celery seeds.
*Try this recipe on top of a beautiful French omelette to bring it to another level! Check my French omelette recipe here!
So let’s get these homemade zucchini relish going!
Canned Zucchini Relish
- 250 g zucchinis (peeled and cut into small dice)
- 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 coarse salt
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- black pepper
- Cut the onion and zucchini into small diced cubes, and add to a strainer inserted over a bowl with the big grains of salt.
- Add weight to the veggies and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours up to a night.
- Once ready, drain the residual water collected in the bowl.
- Dice the bell peppers.
- 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 minutes at low heat.
- Five minutes before the end of cooking, add the cornstarch mix.