Sweet Pepper Relish

Now that I had a plan underway for the hot peppers, I needed one for the near 14 pounds of sweet bell peppers I had leftover. One variety of bell peppers, the Feher Ozon, hails from Hungary and is used to make paprika. I have been dehydrating that variety so that I may try grinding/making my own paprika…a key spice used in rubs for smoked meats. Mmmm. BBQ. But that’s another topic altogether.

The pepper variety I had left was Buran, a pepper that is a Polish heirloom. For this group of peppers, I had a helpful suggestion from a market customer and friend to make a relish out of them. With the help of my mom, much chopping took place and several cans later, we felt a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment at the deliciousness we created. This sweet relish is great…well, on just about anything. We had some last night with our corned beef and cabbage. It is also great on sandwiches. Thanks, Dot, for sending me this recipe!!!

Sweet Pepper Relish – from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving


2 quarts sweet green peppers, chopped (about 10 medium)
2 quarts sweet red peppers, chopped (about 10 medium)
1 ½ cups onions, chopped (we used red onions from the garden)
2 hot peppers, finely chopped (optional – we did add some to our last batch we made yesterday)
4 tsp mixed pickling spices
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tsp salt (I used Kosher salt)
3 ½ cups vinegar (white distilled vinegar with 5% acidity)

  1. Clean half-pint jars and lids with warm soapy water. Place lids in a sauce pan and simmer. Place jars in canner with enough water to fill and cover jars with at least 1” of water. Simmer.
  2. Chop peppers and onions. Mix chopped veggies in a large bowl. Cover vegetables with boiling water and let stand 5 minutes. Drain; return veggies to bowl and cover again with boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, tie pickling spices in a spice bag (I used a metal tea ball, infuser thingy which didn’t hold the total amount needed, so I just added the remaining spices freely to the pickling liquid).
  4. Combine spice bag, sugar, salt and vinegar in a medium sauce pan (pan must be big enough to accommodate all of the chopped veggies later on); simmer liquid and spices 15 minutes (make sure sugar and salt dissolve).
  5. Back to the veggies – after the 10 minute soak in boiling water, drain the veggies. Add the drained vegetables to the pickling liquid pot and simmer 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the spice bag. Bring veggies and pickling mixture to a boil.
  6. While the veggies and liquid are reaching a boil, remove canning jars from the canner (canning kits come with tongs that are helpful for handling these hot jars), carefully pouring out the hot water (once all jars are removed, I turn the burner to high to start getting the water to a boil).
  7. Place hot jars on a rack (do not put hot jars directly on a cold surface; I put a baking sheet under the rack to catch any water and drippings). Once relish reaches a boil, use a ladle and pack the hot relish into the hot jars (canning kits come with a funnel that help with filling the jars), leaving 1/4″ headspace (canning kits may come with a spatula tool for removing air pockets that also has a notched end for measuring headspace…very handy). Wipe rims with a clean cloth. Use a non-metal utensil to make sure no air pockets are in the jar (i.e. a plastic spatula or a wooden chopstick can be used – place tool between relish and side of jar, slowly move tool up and down while stirring to make sure there is no air). Place lids and rings on jar (canning kits come with a magnet to retrieve lids and rings from the simmer pot). Tighten rings to finger-tight.
  8. Carefully return jars to canner (keep vertical; make sure jars are covered by at least 1” of water). Process 15 minutes in the boiling-water canner.
  9. Carefully remove jars from the canner and place on a rack to cool. Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals. Label with date made and jar contents.
  10. Store relish in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate after opening.

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