Dill Pickle Relish- Putting Up with Erin

Has anyone else ever wondered why the US relish market is dominated by sweet cucumber relish?! Ever googled relish recipes only to find that every search result comes back with the word sweet in the title!? For the love of pickles, why must we insist on adulterating the perfect flavor of fresh cucumbers with sugar? I understand that the sweet and tangy flavor of the classic relish tastes great atop a hot dog or hamburger patty, but seriously… move over Heinz, Vlasic, and Claussen, make way for dill pickle relish! OK, enough of my sweet pickle ranting. If my disdain for sweet pickles isn’t obvious by now, you clearly don’t know me at all and we apparently need to work on our communication skills…

If you haven’t yet noticed, it’s cucumber season: that lovely time of year when farmers and gardeners alike harvest cucumbers of all shapes and sizes (often the size of small babies). Still in need of something to swap at the August Seacoast Food Swap, I figured that I’d switch up my pickle game and try making a dill pickle relish. Modified from Solid Gold Eats‘ dill cucumber relish recipe, I’m quite pleased with the outcome (12 half pints… oh man) of this relish.

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Quick Fridge Pickles- Putting Up with Erin

“Hey Erin! Can I ask you a question?.. How do YOU make cucumber pickles?”… My answer: “I don’t”.

Like most newbie picklers, my emergence into the world of pickling started with the classic dill pickle. Overly enthusiastic about my new found hobby (I think I actually may have considered dropping out of graduate school to start a pickling company called ‘Dilly Beans’), I tried loads of different cucumber pickle varieties: zesty pickles, Old Bay pickles, dilly mustard pickles, you name it. Soggy and not quite right pint of cucumber pickles after pint (not to add steam burn after steam burn), I grew tired and a little discouraged by the whole homemade dill pickle idea/fad. Meanwhile, I was having great success putting up other veggie pickles. One night after a pickle back/tini… or four, I began thinking… why try to achieve dill pickle greatness (the crunch, the brine, the zest, etc.) when it’s already been done? I’m probably never going to hear the end of this and will be shamed in the pickle world forever, but here it goes… I Erin A. Urquhart LOVE store bought, chemical laden, food color additive dill pickles! Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest…

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Gazpacho Salsa- Putting Up with ErinGazpacho Salsa- Putting Up with Erin

HAPPY SNOW DAY!! Though a tomato based recipe may be a bit of a stretch in the middle of December, I made an exception for this Gazpacho Salsa.  Running low on the tomatillo salsa that I made earlier this year, I couldn’t help myself when I came across Put a Lid On It‘s sun dried tomato gazpacho salsa. I used organic veggies from TJ’s and ingredients I bought at our local food co-op.  I doubled the original recipe, and supplemented part of the lemon juice with citric acid.  As previously suggested, this salsa would go great atop a nice white fish, or could be turned into gazpacho soup by adding some heat and tomato juice. Before processing, this salsa’s flavor was spicy, tart, and a bit sugary.  I can’t wait to pop a post-processed jar as I’ve found the flavor can change and be amplified after sitting for a month.

I’ve recently came across the food swapping scene!  What a brilliant idea and motivation for me to keep canning.  Have any of you participated in any food swapping meet-ups or events in your area?

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