Elise’s Zesty Zuke Relish

​This Zesty Relish recipe is a great way to preserve your zucchini and summer squash harvests! From our Canning & Pickling booklet, published in August 2008.


  • 12 cups zucchini or summer squash finely chopped, or processed in the food processor
  • 4 cups onion chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers seeded and chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp black mustard seed



  1. Combine zucchini (or summer squash), onions, red and green peppers, and pickling salt. Cover and let stand in a cool place (70–75ºF) for 12 hours or overnight.
  2. Transfer to a colander, placed over a sink, and drain. Rinse with cool water and drain thoroughly. Using your hands, squeeze out excess liquid.
  3. In a large, stainless steel saucepan, combine the drained zucchini mixture, sugar, vinegar, nutmeg, turmeric, ground chili pepper, and mustard seed. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, for a bout 30 minutes or until desired consistency is reached. The relish will be thicker than commercial relish and about the consistency of wet mashed potatoes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare your canner, jars, and lids.
  5. Ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace as needed, by using a rubber spatula to go around the inside of the jar. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tightness.
  6. Place jars in canner, ensuring the lids are covered with at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes then remove jars, cool, and store.

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