This recipe is for a simple dill pickle relish using fresh produce. It is perfect as a condiment, as an ingredient in cold salads like potato salad, or for mixing up a batch of tartar sauce. It is so much better than store-bought!
My grandmother was a big baker, quilter, canner, and all the rest. I did not appreciate it at the time because I thought I was going to be a lawyer. (I was, in fact, a secretary and then a housewife.) Anyway. Years after she died, I wished I had learned from her when I could. I do have one old gardening book of hers, out of which came a hand written recipe for relish.
Sweet relish, 6 pints
Prepare cucumbers and onions and cover with vinegar. Add sugar to taste.
Pour into hot jars and cool.
So that “recipe” was a no-go.
We love dill relish for homemade tartar sauce, as well as on hot dogs. I knew it would be a great use of our cucumbers, but I couldn’t find the right recipe. I searched high and low for a recipe without weird ingredients and that wasn’t too sweet or too oniony. It could not be found, so I made some simple tweaks to the Ball Blue Book recipe to suit my tastes.
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Dill Pickle Relish Ingredients
As you look through the ingredients, there are some things that may seem unnecessary. The turmeric seems strange, but I would not recommend leaving it out. I have done this recipe without it, and there is a difference in taste.
The sugar is not necessary for preservative purposes, but it does improve the flavor. This relish is not sweet, but the sugar definitely adds something extra.
The onions, jalapeño, and dill seed can be reduced if you do not like them. But the salt and vinegar cannot be altered as they are essential to preserving the relish.
What kind of pickles to use for relish?
You can use pickling or regular cucumbers for this dill relish. Since you are chopping them up, the size does not matter. One consideration is that you will need to remove any seeds. Smaller pickling cucumbers will have few, if any seeds, so they will make things easier. If you don’t have any, regular cucumbers will work fine–you’ll just have to de-seed them.
One consideration is that many store bought cucumbers are waxed. This will leave unpleasant bits of skin in the finished relish. Use garden cucumbers or farmer’s market cucumbers to avoid this issue. If you have a garden, you know how cucumbers will take over and will produce more than you could possibly eat fresh. But if you don’t have a garden, don’t worry. Farmer’s markets are filled with cucumbers summer and fall for a very good price.
Step by step relish making
Some General Canning Talk
If you are not familiar with safe canning practices, here is a good resource to get you started canning.
The Ball Blue Book of Preserving is another good starting point.
Intrigued by food preservation but canning is not your thing? Try my super sweet and candy-like dried strawberries.
If you like this recipe, print it out and make sure you have your free canning planner downloaded to keep it organized.
Recipe and video
Dill Pickle Relish Recipe: Simple and Classic
- 8 pounds cucumbers
- 1/2 cup pickling salt
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 quart water
- 1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1 finely diced jalapeno
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon dill seed
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill
- 1 quart white vinegar
- Chop cucumbers in a food processor by pulsing. They should be finely chopped but not pureed.
- Place them in a large bowl bowl and sprinkle with the salt and turmeric. Pour water on top and stir. Allow to sit covered at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
- Place chopped cucumbers in a cheesecloth lined bowl and rinse. Lift cheesecloth and gently squeeze to drain.
- Place cucumbers, diced jalapeño, diced onion, vinegar, sugar, dill weed, and dill seed in a saucepan and simmer 10 minutes.
- Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place lids fingertip tight and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool on counter until sealed. Once cool, store in a dark place.