Canning Garden Leftovers into a Sweet Pickle Relish

I was really disappointed with my cucumbers this year. I used those cheap dollar store 4/$1 seeds.

Never again.

They were supposed to be pickling cucumbers. But I swear, they would go from teeny tiny to humongous and overripe overnight. I hardly got any cucumbers that were suitable for eating, and I definitely didn’t get enough to pickle.

Fortunately, I still have quite a bit of sweet pickle relish from last year’s canning.

Here’s my favorite sweet pickle relish recipe for canning random garden leftovers. It’s a great alternative to a traditional cucumber-only relish when the cucumbers aren’t having a good year.

Garden Leftovers Sweet Pickle Relish

  • 7 cups cucumbers, either finely grated or ground in food processor (approx. 9 med-large cucumbers)
  • 4 cups carrots, grated or ground (approx. 6 large carrots)
  • 3 large onions, grated or ground
  • 1 large green pepper, grated or ground
  • 1 large red pepper, grated or ground
  • 1/2 c. pickling salt
  • 2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c. white vinegar
  • 5 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp celery salt (or celery seed)

In a very large bowl or pot, mix the vegetables together with the salt and allow to sit for about 3 hours. Cover with cold water, mixing well, then rinse thoroughly. Let stand in a colander to drain for an hour, pressing occasionally to squeeze excess moisture out. Place the well drained mixture into a large pot, and add the remaining ingredients, stirring well. Bring to a gentle boil for 20 minutes.

Ladle the hot mixture into hot, sterilized canning jars leaving 1/4 in. headspace. Wipe rim with wet cloth, then screw on two-piece lids. Process jars in a boiling water canner for 10 min.

My favorite way to use this is to mix heaping spoonfuls into cooked, shredded chicken with enough mayo added to make nice and moist. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and enjoy on your favorite bread or crackers. Chicken Salad… yum.


11 thoughts on “Canning Garden Leftovers into a Sweet Pickle Relish”

  1. You can also substitute zucchini or yellow summer squash for the cucumbers. I made relish with each veggie separately and then made a “mixed” relish combining all three when I didn’t have enough of one kind. My families favorite is zucchini relish. Delish!!!!!!!

  2. We didn’t have good luck with our cucumbers this year either. Mine were picking cucumbers that I ordered from Mypatriotsupply, which is where I got all my seeds, and everything else did well. I live in the south where we had very unfavorable weather this summer with the drought we had in July and the crazy hot temps around here. Overall we didn’t have a great garden year. 🙁

  3. I love these kinds of relishes and pickles. We had them all of the time with my grandparents! Now I am the one bringing them to special events. Just wanted to say, your pressure canner video is so very helpful! I have an old canner that I have been afraid to use. Well, i did use it once for green beans but I wasn’t sure I was doing it right. I kept telling my husband, “I just need to see someone doing it!” So now I will be brave and expand my canning horizons! This is a very precious and helpful site.

  4. I do quite well with those cheap cucumber seeds you described.

    Here is the thing about cucumbers (which you may already know so forgive me if you don’t need this info…maybe a reader does) and it is the fact that cuc’s take more water than just about anything in your garden! So water just about daily and mulch well with something like wheat straw to hold the water in the soil.

    Check the cucumbers in the a.m. and again in the evening…that way if one starts to take off and grow really fast, you catch it in time. Run the vines gently as they don’t like a lot of abuse and rough handling (someone one said the vine’s don’t like to be molested). As soon as I pick the cucumbers, I bring them into the house and cover them with ice water and chill them down for about one hour before putting them in a green vegetable bag and putting them in the fridge, and this keeps them from being bitter tasting (great trick when the temp outside exceeds 100 degrees).

    If your cuc’s aren’t producing as much as you would like…as in production is slowing down…you could have missed a cuc that has now gotten big and fat and is starting to turn yellow. Search for it and get it plucked off and you’ll see that vine start producing again.

    I enjoy growing cuc’s. This year the dill matured before the cucumber production hit it’s peak, so next time I’ll plant dill in multiple plantings, several weeks apart to make sure I have fresh at just the right time. A friend saves her dill in the freezer until ready to pickle, but I prefer to use fresh just as I’m making dill pickles.

    Parade is a nice pickling variety you can get from Seed Savers Exchange if you feel you need a change of variety.

    Always enjoy your posts Kendra!


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