When the Groundhog, HOUDINI, ate my beans and peas early in the summer, he was also particularly fond of my cucumbers. I kept replanting my cucumbers and each time he'd get through the fences and eat my cucumber plants down to the ground. FINALLY, Houdini moved on to other's gardens (I suspect so anyway) and what my husband and I called the little cucumbers that could began to grow again. I was just sure that it was to late to get a yield from the plants but was quite happy to watch them grow and blossom and produce tiny cukes just the same.
MUCH to my surprise, last weekend I discovered under their great big leaves, TEN big cucumbers. Not only that, my sweet green pepper plants decided that they'd just grow like crazy and produce far more peppers than I've ever had.
Originally when I planted the cucumbers and green peppers I knew that we'd eat most of them fresh from the garden and share with friends. We've had some very yummy stuffed green peppers this summer. Even my "I don't like stuffed peppers" husband loved them so much that he'd take left overs in his lunch to work.
But I had also hoped that I would have enough peppers and cucumbers for preserving to use as relishes and such, so early on I searched for recipes to put use should I have a good crop. So last weekend when discovered a lot of peppers and cucumbers to be used now I got out my canning supplies again and made Sweet Cucumber Relish.
My friends, I don't know if relishes make your skirt fly up (to Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, that expression always makes me giggle)...anyway, if relishes don't make your skirt fly up, then haven't tasted MY sweet cucumber relish. It makes the plain hotdog, sausage, burger or tuna salad go from ordinary to EXTRAORDINARY!
I just have to share this recipe with you. It is truly delicious! I'm not kidding at all!
10 cups finely chopped unpeeled pickling cucumbers
4 cups finely chopped red bell pepper
3 cups finely chopped green bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped peeled onion
1/2 cup pickling salt
3 1/2 cups white vinegar
2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons mustard seeds
2 tablespoons celery seed
Put chopped vegetables in a large stainless steel or enamel-lined pot. Stir in the salt, cover and let stand at room temperature for 4 hours.
Put the vegetables in a large colander and drain. Rinse with cold water. Using your hands, squeeze out excess liquids.
Rinse out the pot you used for the vegtables. In the pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds and celery seeds. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the drained vegetables and stir to blend. Bring back to a full boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Fill prepared canning jars, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Fit lids on jars and screw bands down to fingertip tightness. Process in a boiling water bath canner with water at least 1 inch above the jars for 10 minutes. Turn off heat, remove the canner cover and wait 5 minutes before removing the jars.
Makes 12 half-pint jars.
I really hope you'll give this recipe a try if you have an abundance of cucumbers and sweet green peppers. You won't regret it.
I've also been putting up a lot of jars of different varieties of jams.
This summer I've made double batches of raspberry jam, and also strawberry as well as PEACH JAM. I used Anna Wright's Peach Jam recipe which she shared HERE on her SWEET & SASSY NOTES blog. It is WONDERFUL!! Not only is it wonderful on an English muffin (I just said Peach jam on an English Muffin because that is what I'm having right now as I post this post) but imagine peach on top of hot oatmeal, cool and creamy yogurt...or just about anything. I think my raspberry jam is among the best jams but Anna's Peach jam is just amazing!