Saturday, October 9, 2010

Too Many Peppers? Try This Relish Recipe

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.


  1. I always have a big garden though I do not grow peppers because of the bug stuff we have to use...I live in Spokane Valley. I am buying a bunch of peppers to try this recipe and I am putting your blog on my favorites and telling my readers to check it out!

  2. This looks great! I've never grown peppers with success, but will look to the farmer's market and give this a go. Thanks. Jeannie

  3. Hi, Does anyone have a great recipe foe pickle relish? I lost my Mom's recipe after I made it last year.

  4. Hi,
    Does anyone have a great recipe for pickle relish? I lost my Mom's recipe after I made it last year!
    Thanks, Tessa

  5. I have made this in years past and it is very similar to Harry and David’s Pepper and anion Relish, which has gotten out of sight lately. Need to hit the farmers market

  6. Omg I made this, added a couple habaneros to spice it up. It’s great but made 14 pints and enough for 24 more at least.

  7. Can you also throw in some sweet green peppers and banana peppers?

  8. Sure! As long as you be careful about mixing in hot peppers with sweet peppers. If it's just for you, make it whatever heat you want. If it's for others, you may want to have separate jarred relishes, one hot, one moderate, one sweet.

  9. I'll be growing peppers next summer and have bookmarked this for the excess peppers I'm sure to have

  10. Tastes a lot like my mawmaw's chow chow