Groooooaaaan. Sorry, sometimes it's easier to go with the obvious even if it's stupid. My sister-in-law is a stay at home mom, but don't make the mistake of thinking she doesn't have a "job". She works harder before most of us even get up than I do all day - you have to when you're married to a farmer. Deb is my produce Goddess from May to October, and trips home from the produce stand at her home are now filled with sinful thoughts of what I"m going to do with the prize submarine-sized zucchini I just scored for only 33 cents...GET your mind outta the gutter, I MEANT Sweet Zucchini Relish!! (Yes this is a canning recipe, but you have to start somewhere, right?)
She gave me this recipe a couple weeks ago, and I am determined to make a butt-load of it - she had me try it and THEN gave me a prized jar to take home...I was slightly nauseated when she told me she had a craving and ate some recently just spread on a piece of bread, but when I tasted it I realized the error of my ways....this stuff would be good on ice cream! Not a big fan of sweet relish, but somehow the zukes do something to it that makes it magically delicious....but without the marshmallows.
Before I pass it on, I will offer 3 fun facts about my sister in law: 1. She is deaf in one ear due to mumps when she was a kid, so if she's on the phone you can talk about her and she won't know unless you're pointing and laughing; 2. One time when she was babysitting her siblings, her evil younger brother (I MAY be married to him) scared her so bad with a fright mask she peed her pants; and 3. Deb won't eat eggs, and will ONLY drink milk in her coffee....this always makes me chuckle since she's married to a DAIRY farmer and her daughter was a DAIRY princess! Love ya Deb....and the rest of you go to Mike and Debbie's Farm Fresh Produce on Cornelius Schefflin Road between Cornelius and Verboort - you won't be sorry unless a giant poop sprinkler goes rogue all over your car! (does that ever happen?? I would laugh if it did, as long as it wasn't me..)
Sweet Zucchini Relish
12 cups shredded zucchini, peel and all (great use for those the pickers miss that then morph overnight into buick-sized missiles)
4 cups chopped onion
5 T. canning salt
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cups white sugar
2-1/2 cup white vinegar
1 T. cornstarch
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. turmeric (the yellow curry stuff)
1-1/2 tsp. celery seed (if you don't normally use these spices, buy in BULK, just what you need!)
1/2 tsp. black pepper (everyone uses pepper for cryin in the rain...)
Put the zucchini and onion in a LARGE non-metallic bowl and sprinkle salt over the top. Use your hands (wash them first please, and don't ruin it by drying them on your pants) to evenly mix the salt throughout the zucchini onion mixture.
OH YEAH....I forgot. You need to clean out your fridge so you can fit this giant bowl in there overnight - time to make "Goulash" for dinner and get rid of all the leftovers and bits and pieces of stuff you were sure you would use for something before they went bad - as Miles stage whispers to his sisters in Uncle Buck, "He's cookin' our GARBAGE!!". Three birds, one stone - delicious relish, a clean fridge AND more room in the garbage can!
After the zucchini sits overnight, drain zukes and onion in a colander and rinse well with cool water. Squeeze as much water as you can by the handfuls (if you want to be a sissy and use cheesecloth, go ahead. But that cheesecloth could cover naked children in China so wouldn't you be ashamed?) and set aside in another large bowl. Put red and green pepper, sugar, vinegar and cornstarch into a large pot. Add spices, stir to combine and add DRAINED zucchini/onion mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to medium low and simmer 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, during your SPARE TIME, sterilize 7 one-pint jars and lids to hold relish. Pack finished relish into jars, running a butter knife around the edges to release any air pockets or bubbles. Fill to the top, wipe edges of jar with a wet towel and screw on lids.
Put a rack in large stockpot or canner and fill halfway with hot water, lower in the jars and place at least 2" space between jars. Pour more boiling water in if needed, tops of jars should be covered by at least 2" of water. Bring to full boil and process COVERED for 30 minutes. (that means boiled...keep the water boiling for the full 30 minutes...you can turn it down, just make sure it's still bubbling)
Remove jars from pot and put on towel lined surface or wood cutting board, several inches apart until cool. When completely cooled, take rings off, clean tops of jars and make sure they sealed and the lids don't "pop". Mmmmm....if any didn't seal, those are ready to eat NOW...no waste!
Now you need to figure out how often you can make hot dogs, hamburgers and macaroni salad to put this stuff in....or you can always use Deb's fall-back and just spread it on bread! I swear to you, if I had ice cream right now I would be trying it that way....dang ice cream hogs!