Wednesday, August 01, 2007

When Shares gives you zucchini.....

you just have to make pickle relish!

First a bit about Shares. The whole point of Shares is to help families cut their grocery costs by becoming part of a buying co-op. Sponsored in our area by Catholic Charities, it is open to ANYONE. To get more information and to join the group, you can go here. (This particular group covers Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming. There are other Shares groups in other parts of the country, so you may want to check it out)

Anyway, when we picked up our package on Saturday, there was a large zucchini, a large yellow squash and two large cucumbers in the box. Now we eat squash and cucumbers, but we prefer our zucchini to be about an inch in diameter by about 6 inches long, and these were WAY bigger than that!

A quick read of the pickle relish recipe revealed that we had everything we needed in the house to whip up a batch, so that produce wouldn't be wasted.

So here's what we used
from our Shares box: 1 large zucchini, 1 large yellow squash, 2 large cucumbers -- all of these got grated on the biggest hole of a standard hand grater

from the drawers of our 'fridge: 1 red onion, 3 small yellow (sweet) peppers -- these were chopped in very fine dice

Put all of those veggies in a large crock (yup, I have an OLD McCoy crock that was my grandmother's that we use for this purpose). Cover the whole batch with a mixture of 1/4 cup salt and 1 quart of water. Let soak for 3 to 4 hours.

Drain. Cover with 1 quart of fresh water and sprinkle 2 teaspoons of tumeric over the top. Let soak for another hour.

Drain completely (we pressed it into a sieve to squeeze out the water).

from the cupboards: mustard seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon stick, whole cloves, vinegar

In a sauce pan, combine 2 cups vinegar, and 3/4 cup brown sugar. Create a bouquet garni by using a piece of cheese cloth (or part of an old, clean dishtowel) tied with a piece of thread or kitchen twine and include: 1 cinnamon stick, 2 teaspoons of mustard seed and 1 teaspoon of whole cloves. Drop the bouquet garni into the sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour mixture (including bouquet garni) over the veggies. Let stand for another 12 to 18 hours.

At the end of the "steeping", remove the bouquet garni and pour the remaining crock contents into a large pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Pack into hot glass jars and put on seal and ring. Set jar on a towel UPSIDE DOWN for 5 minutes, then turn right side up.

Let cool completely before moving. Test jars for seal before storing.

And this is the result.

Oh yes, because we had so many yellow veggies in the mix, it just didn't look quite right, so I dropped in 2 drops of green food color....yellow pickle relish just looks wrong to me!!

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