Jalapeno Relish for Canning

This easy jalapeno relish recipe packs a spicy punch of flavor that will have you ditching store-bought condiments forever. Fresh jalapeños, tangy vinegar, and a touch of sweetness come together for a relish that’s both versatile and delicious.

Canning ensures safe storage and lets you enjoy this fiery relish for months to come.

A clear glass jar filled with colorful jalapeño relish in sharp focus, with whole jalapeños, buns, and cornmeal in the blurred background

Jalapeño Relish Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 hours
Total Time 15 hours 20 minutes
Serving Size 6 half pints

Equipment

  • 6 half-pint canning jars, lids, and bands
  • Large pot for cooking relish
  • Jar lifter, canning funnel, and bubble remover tool

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound fresh jalapeños seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions 

  • Prep. Heat your canning jars. You can do this by washing them in hot, soapy water and then placing them in a simmering water bath canner for 10 minutes. Keep the jars hot until ready to use. Prepare the lids and bands according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Combine Relish Ingredients. In a large pot, combine the chopped jalapeños, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric, and salt.
    A pot with diced red and green jalapeños, onions, and a sprinkle of turmeric and mustard seeds before cooking, signaling the start of the relish-making process.
  • Cook. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the mixture to thicken slightly.
    A large enameled pot filled with cooked jalapeño relish mixture, with vibrant green, red, and yellow colors of the diced vegetables.
  • Fill the Jars. Carefully remove the hot jars from the water bath canner using a jar lifter. Place a canning funnel over the mouth of one jar, and ladle the hot relish into the jar, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Use a bubble remover tool or a non-metallic spatula to remove any air bubbles by gently inserting it into the jar and moving it around the edges.
    Photo collage showing diced jalapeño relish in a cooking pot and being ladled into glass jars, ready for canning.
  • Clean rims and place lids. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp cloth or paper towel to ensure it is free of any relish residue. Place the lid on the jar, then screw on the band until it is fingertip tight.
    Image showing the process of filling glass jars with colorful chopped jalapeño relish mixture, with a kitchen towel wiping the rims.
  • Process the Jars. Place the filled jars back into the water bath canner, making sure they are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring the water to a full, rolling boil. Process the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes (adjust the time for altitude as needed). After processing, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Let the jars sit in the water for 5 minutes to adjust to the temperature change.
    Canning jars filled with vibrant jalapeño relish submerged in a water bath canner with a blue canning jar lifter attached to one jar.
  • Cool. Use a jar lifter to carefully remove the jars from the canner and place them on a towel or cooling rack, making sure they are not touching each other. Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Check the seals by pressing down on the center of each lid. If the lid does not pop back, it is sealed properly.
    Top-down image showing the sealed lids of several glass jars of homemade jalapeño relish, resting on a red and white striped towel.
  • Store. Label your jars with the content and canning date. Store in a cool, dark place. Wait at least 2 weeks for the flavors to develop before using.

Notes

Always wear gloves when handling jalapeños to avoid irritation.
Relish should be used within 12-18 months for best quality.

Okay, let’s be honest – jalapeño relish might not sound like the most exciting thing, but hear me out! This stuff is a total game-changer. It adds a perfect kick to burgers, sandwiches, or even scrambled eggs. The best part? Even my picky eaters love it!

A square close-up of a sealed jar filled with homemade jalapeño relish, prominently displaying the bright colors and textures of the diced vegetables.

I swear, getting everyone in my family to agree on food is like solving a puzzle. But this relish, with its zesty, slightly sweet flavor, has become a surprising favorite.

Relish Canning Tips

  • Customize the heat: Jalapenos can vary in heat level. Taste one before adding them to the recipe. If you want extra spice, add a portion of the seeds back in. For milder relish, stick to seedless peppers.
  • Wear gloves: Jalapeño oils can linger on your skin and cause irritation. Protect your hands with disposable gloves while prepping the peppers.
  • Think beyond burgers: This relish is seriously versatile. Try stirring it into scrambled eggs, using it as a topping for fish tacos, or adding a spoonful to cream cheese for a spicy dip.
  • Let it rest: While you can enjoy this relish right away, the flavors truly meld and develop after a few weeks. If you can resist, give your canned jars a couple of weeks to “cure” before digging in for optimal flavor.

Key Ingredients and Tools


Besides the fresh jalapeños, a few key ingredients add unique layers of flavor to this relish:

  • Apple cider vinegar: Found in the vinegar aisle, it provides a mellow sweetness and a touch of fruitiness that balances the heat of the peppers.
  • Turmeric: Look for this bright yellow spice in the ethnic section of your grocery store. While subtle, it adds a touch of warmth and earthy depth to the relish.
  • Mustard seeds: Located in the spice aisle, these tiny seeds add a surprising pop of pungency and complexity. They’ll soften as they cook in the relish.
Assorted ingredients for jalapeño relish preparation laid out neatly, including chopped jalapeños, onions, a bowl of spices, and a jug of vinegar.
  • Water bath canner: This large pot is key for safely processing the jars and creating a shelf-stable relish.
  • Jar lifter: This handy tool allows you to safely remove hot jars from the canning water.
  • Canning funnel: This wide-mouthed funnel helps you neatly fill the jars with hot relish, minimizing spills and mess.
  • Bubble remover tool: This tool helps eliminate air bubbles trapped in the jars, ensuring a proper seal during canning.
An overhead shot of a clean work surface with canning equipment including a water bath canner, jar lifter, funnels, jars, and a knife on a wooden cutting board

Having these tools on hand ensures a safe and successful canning experience.

Serving Suggestions

Serve with burgers, hot dogs, fish tacos, or grilled chicken.

Troubleshooting and Help

Can I make this relish milder?

Absolutely! To tone down the heat, focus on the peppers. Remove all the seeds and the white membranes inside the jalapeños – that’s where most of the spice lives. For even milder flavor, substitute some of the jalapeños with sweet bell peppers.

I don’t have all the spices. Can I still make it?

Sure! While the spices add depth of flavor, you could definitely still make this relish with a stripped-down ingredient list. Start with the essentials – jalapeños, vinegar, and sugar – and work from there. If you find the flavor a bit flat, add a pinch of salt or a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up.

I don’t have canning equipment. Can I still enjoy this?

Yes! You can easily turn this into a “refrigerator relish.” Simply skip the water bath canning process and store your cooked relish in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’ll last for a few weeks and is perfect for immediate enjoyment.

Remember, the vinegar and sugar act as preservatives, so don’t reduce or alter those.

Storing Homemade Relish

Canned Relish

  • Cool place: Store your properly canned jars in a cool, dark place like a pantry or cupboard.
  • Long shelf life: Canned relish will last for 12-18 months if the jars are sealed correctly.
  • Check that seal: Before opening a jar, make sure the lid is still flat and hasn’t popped up. A “popped” lid indicates spoilage.

Refrigerator Relish

  • Airtight container: If you skipped the canning process, store the cooked relish in an airtight container in your refrigerator.
  • Shorter shelf life: Refrigerator relish will stay good for a few weeks.

Freezing

I don’t recommend it. The texture of the vegetables won’t be as pleasant after thawing.

More Recipes for Jalapeno Season

When jalapeno peppers are ready, there’s plenty to make with them! I hope you try some of these.

This jalapeño relish is a great way to add a zesty touch to so many meals! Once you try it, you’ll probably find yourself putting it on everything. Remember, the flavors will be even better after a few weeks in the pantry, so be sure to make enough for later. Let me know how you enjoy your relish and if you discover any new and delicious ways to use it.

Close-up shot of a glass jar showcasing the vibrant, chunky texture of the homemade jalapeño relish, with diced green and red peppers visible.

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