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Bess Dewing’s Sweet/Hot Pickle Relish

This spicy sweet relish is delicious on hamburgers or sausage.


  • ¾ lb sweet peppers, preferably half red and half green
  • 2 hot chile peppers, each about 5 to 6 inches long
  • ¾ lb onions
  • 2 ½ lbs unwaxed cucumbers
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt or 2 tablespoons uniodized table salt or pickling salt
  • 3 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed
  • ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon each of whole cloves and broken stick cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole allspice
  • ¾ teaspoon cracked nutmeg (wrap in a clean dishtowel and whack with a hammer)


Stem and seed the peppers and the chiles, and peel the onions. Pulse/chop the peppers, chiles, onions and cucumbers to a coarse texture in a food processor.  You should have about 8 cups.

Transfer the vegetables to a 3 quart or larger bowl, stir in the salt, and weight with a plate to keep vegetables from floating as the brine forms.  Let stand 12 hours or overnight.

Drain and rinse the vegetables, and drain well again. Transfer them to a 4 quart saucepan; add the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and turmeric. Place the cloves, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg in a tea ball or tie with cheesecloth into a small bag. Add the spice bag to the pan simmer, uncovered, 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Discard the spice bag, and ladle relish, boiling hot, into hot, sterilized jars. Seal, cool. Label and store at least one month before serving.

Submitted by Lorraine Glazar, Tucson CSA From Preserving Today, by Jeanne Lesem, copyright 1992; permission to reprint granted by Alfred A. Knopf.