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Preparing and Canning Relishes

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Hot Pepper Relish

  • 5 cups ground green or red bell peppers (About 7 to 8 peppers, or 3 to 4 pounds before grinding)
  • 5 cups ground jalapeño peppers (About 3 to 4 pounds before grinding)
  • 1-½ cups ground onion (3 medium yellow onions, 2.5 to 3 inches diameter, before grinding)
  • 2-½ cups distilled white or cider vinegar (5%)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons pickling salt
  • 4 teaspoons mustard seed

Yield: About 6 pint jars

Please read Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

CAUTION:  Wear plastic or rubber gloves and do not touch your face while handling or cutting hot peppers.  If you do not wear gloves, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching your face or eyes. 

Procedure:

1.  Wash and rinse pint or half-pint canning jars; keep hot until ready to fill.  Prepare lids and ring bands according to manufacturer’s directions.

2.  Wash bell peppers well; trim to remove stems and seeds.  Slice stem end from jalapeño peppers; grind remaining jalapeño peppers with seeds. Peel, core and wash onions.  Cut peppers and onions into large pieces. Coarsely grind peppers and onions (see Notes at end of procedure). 

3.  Measure 5 cups of the ground bell peppers with their juice, 5 cups of the ground jalapeño peppers with their juice, and 1-1/2 cups of the ground onion, including juice. Combine the measured peppers and onions with the remaining ingredients into a large stockpot.  Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat and cook at a low boil for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching. 

4.  Fill the hot relish into prepared hot pint jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. If needed, remove air bubbles and re-adjust headspace to ½-inch. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.  Adjust lids and bands. 

5.  Process in a boiling water canner according to the recommendations in Table 1.  Let cool, undisturbed, 12 to 24 hours and check for seals.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Hot Pepper Relish in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints or Half-pints 10 min 15 20


Developed at The University of Georgia, Athens.  Released by Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences.  June 2011.

Notes:  For recipe development, peppers and onions were ground using a stand mixer grinder attachment with the coarse blade.

This is a fairly hot pepper relish. It would be good stirred into cooked greens or beans, or served with cream cheese on crackers. In order to adjust the hot pepper intensity of the finished product, the proportion of sweet to hot peppers may be adjusted according to taste and the variety of hot pepper provided that the total amount of measured ground pepper is not altered.  In other words, with all other ingredients measured as specified in the recipe, there should be no more than 10 cups of ground peppers.

Additional Note:  Refrigerate any leftover relish after filling jars, and enjoy freshly made!  

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