Here in Northern California, sweet peppers continue to ripen on the plants in early October, turning rich shades of red, purple, and yellow. The result? Peppers that are sweeter. And probably more peppers than you know what to do with. And if your onion harvest was overabundant this summer (as ours is every year), why not combine the two for a real taste treat?
We spend this time of year making several batches of sweet red pepper relish, using a recipe we found in an old copy of Sunset's Home Canning book.
It's delicious on many dishes, including as a topping for hot dogs and hamburgers...or just dolloped onto a cracker. It's the one homemade holiday gift that we distribute each December that our friends and family actually request!
The recipe for Sweet Red Pepper Relish:
6 pounds of sweet red peppers, seeded and cut into one-inch squares (we throw in a few Anaheim peppers for a touch of heat)
3 pounds onions, cut into one-inch chunks
4 cups distilled white vinegar
3 cups sugar
2 Tbs canning salt or noniodized table salt
1 Tbs mustard seeds
Chop the peppers and onions, then put in a food processor or food chopper with a medium blade.
Pour chopped peppers and onions into a heavy-bottomed, 8-10 quart stainless steel or unchipped enamel pan.
Mix in the vinegar, sugar, salt and mustard seed.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to medium-low and let it boil gently, uncovered.
Stir often to prevent sticking.
Cook about 50 minutes, until relish is thickened but still juicy.
Makes about 7 pints.
A quarter-cup serving has 81 calories, 1 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 2 g total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 3 mg sodium
Unprocessed: Ladle into pint jars or refrigerator containers, leaving a half-inch head space. Apply lids, let cool, then refrigerate. Refrigerator life: 1 month.
Processed: Ladle hot relish into clean, hot pint jars, leaving a half-inch headspace.
Run a narrow nonmetallic spatula between relish and jar sides to release air bubbles.
Wipe rims and threads clean. Top with hot lids, then firmly screw on bands.Process in boiling water canner for 15 minutes. Shelf life: up to 1 year.