Monday, 28 August 2017

Preserving all ways

Jo at Smallholderwannabe requested that I post my sweet cucumber relish recipe so here we are: 

  • 2 lbs cucumbers, peeled, center row of seeds removed, and finely diced
  • 1 medium onion finely diced ( I used red for extra colour)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced (I used half red, half yellow for colour)
  • 1 stalk of finely diced celery (or heaped teaspoon of celery salt)
  • 1oz salt
  • 6oz white granulated sugar
  • 400ml cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seed
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
Place the diced cucumbers, onion, and red bell pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine with the salt and pour water over the mixture until just covered. Let sit for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the cucumber mixture in a colander, rinse thoroughly with water, and drain well.
  • In a large stock pot, add the sugar, vinegar, and mustard seed and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the drained cucumber mixture and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  • Ladle the hot relish into sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and seal tightly with the lids.
  • Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. (The 3 jars I made fitted  into my deep pressure cooker pan. Boiling water was added to the start of the neck of the jar)
  • Sealed jars will store in a cool, dark place for a year. If the seal is broken, the relish will keep in the fridge for a month.
This is a basic recipe found all over the internet, I did notice that some people add a teaspoon of cornflour near the end of the cooking process to produce a syrupy sauce. I may try that next week when I do some more, as I felt there wasn't enough liquid and the cucumbers are still coming thick and fast!

The solar dehydrator has also been in action this week as we've had some lovely sunshine. I'm so chuffed its working a treat. We put pears, apples, plums, banana and tomatoes in there and they taste delicious especially the bananas so I've just filled it again.  Hubby wanted to try thicker slices so again we experiment to see what works and what doesn't. The weather forecast for this week is excellent so it will be filled with goodies every time its emptied. 
I bought some new kilner jar seals last year after finding the blackberry vodka was evaporating because the seal was as knackered. My jars are old but I want to use them for the dry produce so I'm hoping the new seals will do the trick. I will sterilise them this week and change the seals but in the mean time the dried produce is being kept in plastic containers. I'm also hoping that some of the  damson plums are ready midweek so I can make firstly jam but also try some fruit leather in the dehydrator. 

The 4 courgettes I picked yesterday were literally washed, dried, sliced, placed in a bag in the freezer ready to be added to casseroles, stews and soups. How is your preserving going? This month I have made relish, pickled, frozen and dehydrated produce so that it can be used throughout the winter. I have just found a Balsamic Vinegar Beetroot pickling recipe that I will definitely try as I find the  normal too harsh even with sugar added.  The front garden needs an hour spending on it, a few things need tidying and then I will be relaxing  making some cards. Enjoy the bank holiday. Bye for now. Tx


  1. The dehydrator looks to be working well, a good way to preserve some of the food you're harvesting at the moment, a busy time of year.

    1. I am so chuffed with the dehydrator. It was made from scrap material apart from the acrylic screen that cost £20.

  2. Thank you for the recipe : )

    I'll be giving that a go with the cucumbers I've been given!

    1. You are welcome Jo, we love the flavour, its slightly sweet and sour.

  3. I've never thought of using a dehydrator before. It looks to be working well for you.
    I need to get started on my blackberry vodka this week. X

    1. I have a cheap bottle of vodka on my shopping list so I can make some bits.

  4. Hiya Tania, I'm finally catching up before I go back tomorrow. Love the dehydrator. Do you scoop the tomato seeds out first? A recipe I have says to but I think it's a right fiddle not to
    Mention a waste so I might just chuck them in whole.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe too as I've some cucumbers but not many so I will adjust the recipe to suit what I have. I must freeze my courgettes too. Xx

  5. I get rid of some seeds but only those lost in the chopping board when I press the tomato down. I normally cut a medium tomato in 6, I press each half moon shape flat slightly that's when some seeds are lost. Hubby sliced circles as an experiment but I don't like them like that.

  6. Maybe next year we'll have enough cucumbers to try your lovely recipe. Dehydrator is such a good idea xx

    1. It's the best recipe I've found Cheryl. As for the dehydrator, I'm too mean to pay for an electric one. The sun is free and it made sense to utilise it.