Saturday, July 27, 2013

Dill Relish

This recipe is actually a Ball Blue Book Recipe! That being said I do mine a little different than theirs. I will post their recipe and then tell you how I do mine. This recipe can be found on page 53 of the 100th Anniversary Edition Ball Blue Book(2009).  

Dill Relish

8 pounds pickling cucumbers
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 quart water
1 pound yellow onions
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dill seed
1 quart white wine vinegar

Wash cucumbers, drain. 
Finely chop cucumbers in a food process or food grinder. 
Place chopped cucumbers in a bowl and sprinkle with salt and turmeric.
Pour water over cucumbers; let stand for 2 hours.
Peel and finely chop onions.
Drain cucumbers.
Rinse under cold water and drain.
Combine cucumbers, onion, sugar, dill seed and white wine vinegar in a large sauce pot, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
Ladle hot relish into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust 2 piece caps.
Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Now that is Ball's Recipe and it is a good one but I do it just a scooch differently!

1. Yesterday afternoon I cut up 2 batches or 16 pounds of small pickling cucumbers. A heirloom variety called Straight Eight. I pick these fresh right before chopping and small, about 4 to 6 inches so that the seeds and rinds are not very developed. and I bring them in and immediately put them in cold water to keep them good and crisp.

2. I slice them in half and take a spoon and scoop out the seed cavity in the middle of every cucumber. No seeds no matter how small.

3. I chop my cucumbers by hand. Food processors make mush of relish. My family wants theirs a little chunky. I cut mine small but every thing by hand.

4. I cut my cucumbers and onions at the same time and put them in a bowl. Then sprinkle canning or pickling salt over them then half the turmeric. That's right 1 teaspoon per batch. Turmeric adds color to the pickles turning them a beautiful apple green color but my family is not crazy about the flavor so half the amount is a compromise.

5. Once the turmeric,salt, chopped cucumbers and onions are stirred well I do not add the quart of water that Ball calls for. I simply cover them with a clean dish cloth and let them soak overnight with no water as compared to Balls 2 hours in water. During this soaking time they absorb the salt and turmeric and stay crunchy!

6. The next morning I got up early and placed my hot water canner on the stove with my empty pint jars in it and brought the water to a boil to sterilize and heat my jars.

7. I put my lids and rings on to warm.

8. Now I took my cucumber and onion mixture and poured it into my colander and rinsed it very well under cold water. Now taste your cucumbers and they will taste really salty.

9. Put them in a non reactive pot ( stainless or enamel) and add your vinegar.

10. I live in no mans land. I walk in a grocery and ask for white wine vinegar and they look at me like I have 3 heads. I use plain white 5% acidity vinegar. The only difference was that I added about a cup extra. Why? To completely cover my pickles when cooking. 4 CUPS NEVER GIVES ME ENOUGH LIQUID. Now I add  my fresh dill seed and sugar.  If you cut back on the sugar your pickles will taste too salty. The salt and vinegar is necessary to preserve your pickle. The sugar is then added to cut the strength of the salt.

11. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer and simmer 10 minutes. By then your jars should be good and hot. (Boiling) Your lids should also be hot.

12. Now I take one jar at a time out of the water and dump the water back in the pot that continues to boil. I fill that jar and remove air bubbles. Wipe rim clean and place hot lid and ring back on jar. Finger tighten lid. Now take that full jar and place it back in pot of water to keep it hot. 

13. This recipe for me always makes about 5 pints. By the time I get that 5th jar full and back in the pot the jars are all heated in that boiling water.They are hotter than a firecracker.

14. I then take my jars out and place on a cutting board on the counter and cover with a heavy bath towel to hold the heat and walk away. I let them set for the rest of the day wrapped in that towel. It is now 6:00 pm and the last jar just sealed about 20 minutes ago.


Now on most things I do follow the USDA standards for canning with the exception of pickles. I do not water bath my pickles because I do believe the heat degrades the product. If you are uncomfortable with that then by all means water bath your product for 10 minutes. This blog is about how I do things and for me it is useless to make mushy pickles and then have to throw them out because my family will not eat them. Doing my relish produces a nice crispy and slightly chunky relish that my family eats in potato, tuna and ham salads. I use this relish to make tartar sauce and put on hot dogs. And have for years. This is what works for me and my family. I urge you to take the original recipe and find what works for your own family and their tastes.
Now I am sure someone out there in blog land will feel the need to be the self appointed representative  of the canning police club. Keep it polite or I will delete you!

As for me and my family we are going to sit down to a dinner of venison stew loaded with potatoes, carrots and onions picked this morning. As a side we have smothered fresh squash and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Add to that some fresh corn on the cob the neighbor brought me in trade for some fresh homemade refrigerator pickles. He smelled them from across the holler I think. He doesn't care in the slightest that they aren't water bathed he just cares that they are crunchy and delicious : )

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter  


  1. thank you so much for taking time to share this I can't wait to make them tomorrow thanks amber

  2. SO good to know! I just wrote in the above comment about how my pickles never remained crunchy! Yay!

    And by the way- I do something similar with peaches and pears. Process them the 'recommended' time and they are mush. I process mine 5 minutes after the rolling boil has begun and they seal every time and I have not ONCE had a problem. (They keep their shape and consistency too. yum.)

    Very unlike the applesauce that went bad on me for some reason. I have no idea why but a whole BATCH of last years' applesauce had mold on the top I recently discovered. Talk about depressing! I remember how much work it was to MAKE that! For NOTHING!

    1. You know Rebecca for some reason we now feel the need to process food to death I think.

      Every blue moon I too will lose a batch of something that happens if you can long enough. By losing the whole batch I would say that it was not processed long enough or maybe your water was not hot enough before you started timing it. It is sure discouraging to do all that work for nothing but don't let it stop you from canning.

  3. Oh, I cant wait to make this relish!! Thanks so much for sharing your version.. I bet its hands down superior to the BBB. No canning police here.. While I do some things by the book, some I do not.. I agree.. people have gotten so freaked out over processed foods. Just think.. 100 years ago, very little was actually "processed" as we are familiar with today.
    Some Amish folks I know can lots of things the way their mothers & grandmothers did before them. According to the USDA they are going to die eating "bad" processed food, but they keep on living anyways. ;)

    Have a great day!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! I know what I'll be canning this weekend!

  5. Out of curiosity- do you use this method (of not following the 10 minute rule) to can all your pickles or just your relish? I'd love to know if it works on actual pickles too. Thanks!

    PS. I think today is the day you are getting your computer hooked up! Exciting!

    1. I hate to say it but I do not process pickles! It makes mushy pickles. I will set the jars back in the water canner of boiling water that I use to heat the jars while I am filling the entire batch and maybe let then sit 5 minutes. I get everything really hot though. I heat the jars in boiling water, lids rings and brine are all hot. I fill my jars and set them back in the water canner until all my jars are filled then take them out and sit them on a cutting board and put a heavy bath towel over them and let them sit on the counter overnight. Usually the next morning they are sealed. I only keep pickles ONE year.

    2. FABULOUS! I am so excited to hear this! Thank you!

    3. DOWN with mushy pickles! :-)

  6. I just canned this relish for the first time and it was amazing! Thank you so much for sharing. I absolutely love your blog!

  7. Got mine soaking tonight. Can't wait to try these! I didn't have quite enough of the wine vinegar so I'll just finish it out with the reg. 5% white vinegar. Thank you again for sharing with us.

  8. Loved the recipe. I made a few changes and added extra Vidalia onions. Have you tried Ball Pickle Crisp. Works for me to keep pickles & relish crispy.

  9. Q: how much salt/dill/sugar per 2 cups of chopped /processed cucumbers?


Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please. Also I am not a free advertisement board if you want to push a product on my comments I will delete you fast !!!

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