Spicy pepper relish

(adapted from the USDA home canning guide #6 pg 28)

This recipe is a reduction of the larger quantity found in the USDA home preservation guide, with a slight modification for a spicier product. This is only a slight modification, and the product can be canned using the original guidelines, or it can simply be cooked and stored in the fridge.


4 cups de-seeded, chopped cucumbers (peeling is optional)

2 cups chopped peppers. This can be all hot peppers, or a combination of hot peppers and bell peppers until you get to 2 cup volume. We recommend 1 cup habanero and 1 cup bell pepper as a good start

1/3 cup chopped onion

¼ cup canning salt (you can technically use regular salt, but canning salt avoids additives that may discolor a shelf-stable product)

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/3 tsp EACH of mustard seed, ground turmeric, ground cloves, ground allspice

2 c white vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar for a different taste)


*chopping the vegetables is made easier with a vegetable chopper like the “as seen on TV vidalia chop wizard”, or what I like to call the “slap-chopper” because you slam the lid down on the cutting plate. Cut the cucumbers lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then slice into ¼ inch slices, and cut into a mince on the ‘fine’ chopping plate (so that you get roughly ¼” cubes). For the peppers, cut out the stem, cut in half (or to a size that will fit on the chopping plate) and press through the chopper. Slice the onion in ¼ slices and press through the chopper.


1) toss veggies in the salt in a large bowl

2) cover with ice water (cold water that actually has ice in it) and let sit for 4 hours, covered. Drain, return to bowl

3) cover with more ice water (but less ice this time), and let sit for another hour, covered. Skim off any ice cubes with a slotted spoon so that you know they’re not still in there, then drain

4) Add spices, vinegar and sugar to a pot and heat to boiling. (The original USDA recipe says to use whole spices and put them in a mesh bag, but I find the recipe is more flavorful if you use ground and just leave the spices in there).

5) Pour boiling mixture over drained vegetables and refrigerate 24hrs, covered.

6) heat the whole thing in a pot to boiling. Then:

  1. For a shelf-stable product, fill sterilized canning jars leaving ½ inch headspace, wipe rims, adjust rings and lids, then process in a boiling water bath for 10 min. (see https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html for more information on home-canning if you’ve never done it before. Be sure you understand all the Principles of Home Canning (guide 01 on that page) before beginning to do your own home preservation)




  1. If storing it in fridge sounds just fine, continue to cook on med-high for 10 minutes, covered. Pour into sterilized glass gars and refrigerate.


Makes about 5-6 cups relish.


***If you don’t intend to make shelf-stable jars and you want an even smaller batch (2-3 cups) for the fridge, use:

2c chopped cucumbers

1c chopped peppers

3 tbsp chopped onion

2 tbsp canning salt

1/3 c sugar

½ heaping tsp EACH mustard seed, ground turmeric, ground cloves, ground allspice

1 c vinegar

This isn’t an exact reduction of the recipe, so do not use the above amounts for shelf-stable processing.