Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer Zucchini Relish

Unemployment is capitalism's way of getting you to plant a garden.
~Orson Scott Card

In the growing of zucchini, there’s ALWAYS one that gets away. I much prefer to pick them no bigger than 4-5 inches (10-12 cm) long and with the wilted flower still attached. That is a perfect size to slice up medallions for pizza or slice in half lengthwise to grill for a few minutes on the gas grill like Debra does.  That small size also has miniscule seeds and a still firm center. Catching them at that size takes daily perusal. I was sure there was one to check on…should be perfect for dinner tonight by now. But when I looked, there it was. The first of the year to quadruple in size overnight! Well over a foot long (30 cm) I contemplated tossing it into the compost but that’s such a waste. I could make it into a casserole, or bread but I didn’t want to use the oven and I didn’t have all the ingredients for Vindaloo or Quesadillas. Nor did I want anything to be that involved. I was taking it easy that day, still feeling the effects of a migraine from the day before.

Hmmm, what to do. My friend Kathy LOVES those big’uns for making her relish for canning but I only had one and she doesn’t live close by. Looking through my recipe card files…no…I neglected to get the recipe from her. Ok, this can’t be that complicated…find one in the cookbooks and try it. As you can see I have saved several pickle recipes in years past. I tried pickling some zucchini spears last year but didn’t really like them. I didn’t find a recipe that was interesting and easy for my lack of energy and patience, but reading through a dozen or so for pickles and relish, I made one up and got started.

Making a relish is perfect for trying out the new shredder attachment my sister gave me at Christmas for the KitchenAid. Without it I wouldn’t have attempted all that grating by hand.

Cool shredder! Lickety split, done in less than 5 minutes! I can see how useful this will be for lots of recipes.

I used the ‘coarse’ shredding cone. It did a pretty good job with only a few chunks left uncut.

To that bowlful I added

• 2 tsp of Celtic Sea Salt (the gray salt but pink Himalayan sea salt would be great too)

and left it to sit for an hour to draw out the water from the zucchini. Give it a stir now and then. It will become frothy. After the hour soak, I let it drain in a colander for an hour. Don’t rinse it; you don’t want to lose those healthy minerals from your sea salt nor do you want to add moisture back in.

Meanwhile make up your ‘sauce’.

In a small bowl I combined:
• ½ c apple cider vinegar (local from Rockridge Orchards, yum)
• ¾ c Sucanat (a healthier form of sugar Shari told me about)
• ¼ tsp tumeric
• 1/8 tsp ground mustard seed (prepared mustard is fine)
• 7 twists of freshly ground fenugreek (no, it’s not in any of my recipes but I love fenugreek and in it goes. It’s wonderful on any veg)

Let all that dissolve and blend while the zucchini is draining. When the zucchini finished draining I spooned it into a wide mouth quart canning jar, poured in enough ‘sauce’ just to cover, gave it a stir, capped it and put it into the refrigerator. The jar was about ¾ full, but I took this picture after we had it for dinner. I had enough sauce for probably 2 jars but didn’t have another zucchini that big. You could save it for another batch or I just poured it into a salad dressing jar, added an equal amount of olive oil for a delish salad dressing.

One recipe for ‘quick cucumber pickles’ said by the next day you can enjoy them. I wanted to spoon this relish over a grilled salmon patty for dinner so it didn’t sit that long, but by next day it should be even better….if it lasts that long. I think the salting and draining of the zucchini leaves it softened and ready to absorb the sauce quickly which is why this doesn’t need weeks to be ready to enjoy.

I must say…this was a wonderful meal. Over a bed of lettuce I layered some brown rice, the grilled salmon patty, the relish and drizzled some sauce over the lettuce and rice. Yum. I’m tempted to let several zucchini ‘get away’ now that I have this recipe. It’s a keeper. I can see this jar won’t last much more than a day or two. It will be good on just about anything.

A relish from garden to table in a matter of hours…how fresh is that!

In bloom in my garden today: Agastache foeniculum (anise hyssop), Alpine Strawberries, Alyssum, Armeria, Astlbe, Begonia ‘bonfire’, Borage, Bletilla pink, Crocosmia ‘george davidson’, Daphne caucasica ‘Eternal Fragrance’ and ‘Summer Ice’, Digitalis grandiflora, Echinacea, Fuchsia, Geranium ‘mavis simpson’, Gladiolus callianthus (formerly Acidanthera), Green Beans, Hosta, Huchera, Lavender, Lily, Lobelia, Mullen chaixii ‘Album’, Nepeta, Oregano, Phygelius ‘new sensation’ (cape fushia), Rose, Salvia, Scheherazade oriental lily, Schizostylis ‘watermelon’, Star Jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides), Thyme ‘foxley’, Tigridia (Mexican Shell Flower), Tomato, Zucchini

Author’s photos


Debra Daniels-Zeller said...

That is so funny Joan because I have a boatload of zucchini once again and am looking for recipes. I have the vinegar all ready to go and can't wait to make this recipe. Great minds indeed!!

Joan said...

Between us Rockridge Orchards should see a surge in sales, huh? Too fun! I hope you like the relish! Cheers Debra! Can't wait to meet you someday.

Cindy said...


My former boss grows monster zucks and she has made a relish like that and gave us each one a few christmases ago.

I fell in love with it so thanks to you I now can make my own...

just need a monster zuchinni!

your meal looks mouthwatering!
I am contemplating getting a kitchen aid soon (saving for it)

do you like yours???

ps watch your mail!

Joan said...

Hi Cindy,
Did you plant a zucchini this year? If not you must give it a go next year. They are so versatile and easy to grow. But they need water especially if you want the biggies.

Yes I love my KitchenAid. I got it when using the handmixer became too hard for the thicker doughs. I love it for breads and now that I've discovered the shredder attachment I may just make shredded carrot salads again! yay!

Watching my mail! :)

Shari B. (FitFeat) said...

Still no zucchini in my garden :( Plenty of blossoms, just no veggies! Not sure what's going on...

Envious of your KitchenAid mixer... someday!!

What a DELICIOUS meal and your plating presentation is fabulous!

Joan said...

Hi Shari,
I don't know why you aren't getting vegies either. They like it hot and if you are getting both male and female flowers you should get a zuc. Do you see any rot? I wonder if the female flower is rotting before it can form a zuc. Are the flowers getting wet from the water jets and rotting? harumpf.

But you do have a food processor right? I wonder how much you'd use a kitchen aid, as a food processor seems to do the same thing. Maybe the mixer is better for dough? I don't have a food processor so I don't know. Hubby suprised me for Christmas with the mixer a few years back. I love it.

Thanks for reading!

Kathy Jones said...

Hi Joan: I had read this blog on my iPhone, but couldn't get my comment to post...and you know how things have been...
I got the Kitchen Aid attachment last summer when my food processor had given up the ghost. I decided to not have another appliance and just get the attachment; I love it also. However, my recipe also calls for green and red peppers and sometimes they don't grind as well. I think your idea of making it a one-day pickeled relish is a fabulous idea. And, my recipe calls for draining and rinsing after the salt sits on the mixture for overnight, but I will try your drain only method when I get around to making mine. It's been a busy summer and I haven't canned one thing yet, which you know, is terribly unheard of for me! Gotta run, but enjoyed this blog as well. ~ Kathy

Joan said...

Hi Kathy,
I can't believe you haven't canned yet either! I just love looking at all your beautiful work on the shelves. You'll get back to it when you can, maybe this year isn't the year. I made this recipe again since this post and loved it as much. so easy and tasty!

Kathy J said...

Hi Joan: I still have one big zucchini in my frig... If I hurry, I may be able to get my winter supply of relish made before it rots. Mine did not grow well in my garden this year either:( I'm still waiting for the apples to ripen (?) don't think they're going to be as good as usual due to our odd weather this summer. But, making fried green tomatoes (since those didn't ripen either,ha!) and everyone seems to be liking those. Maybe I'll do better next year with the garden... It was fun to have it again though, after these last few years:) Thanks for being so helpful to me when you know I'm really just a busy, accidental gardener ;) You are gifted! ~ Kathy

Kathy J said...

HA! I don't know how,but my picture showed up! Lol, that means I'm also an accidental blogger, or commentor?- Hahahaha.

Joan said...

Hey! Great picture!! Accidental or not you're great!