Small batch zucchini relish

Make a few tasty jars to capture the flavour of summer!

I’ve been making this relish for years and it’s a real family favourite. We enjoy it in the usual places – on burgers, hotdogs and sausages – but also with roast chicken and turkey. I’ve scaled down my mother’s large-family sized recipe but you can easily double or halve this one if you want a bigger or smaller batch. As you can see below, some of the quantities are not precise; that’s simply because vegetables don’t grow in precise sizes! Your goal is to assemble about 12 cups of combined chopped vegetables; I find it easiest to first check the capacity of the bowl or container I plan to put the vegetables in to rest overnight (do this by filling with 12 cups / 3 L of water and taking note of the ‘line’ to which you have filled it) and then when I get to that level, I know I have enough prepared vegetables. If you’re looking for a unique and thoughtful gift, why not hand out jars of homemade deliciousness?


  • 5 – 8 medium zucchini
  • 2 – 3 medium onions
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 1/3 cup (90 mL) coarse kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (875 mL) white vinegar
  • 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) white sugar
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) each celery & mustard seeds


  • Halve 5 of the zucchinis lengthwise and cut into one inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Using a food processor (or you can do this by hand with a sharp knife), chop zucchini into pieces approximately 1/4 inch or smaller in size. Put them in a large bowl or food storage container (capable of holding more than 12 cups / 3 L).
  • Use the same technique to prepare the onions, celery and peppers, adding them all to the zucchini. If you’re not yet at the 12 cup / 3L (approximately) mark, chop additional zucchini as needed.
  • Sprinkle the vegetables with the coarse salt and stir gently to blend.
  • Place a plate on top of the vegetables (it doesn’t have to completely cover them) then weight the plate down with a large glass jar (or a large glass measuring cup) filled with water.
  • Let sit overnight so the vegetables will release some of their moisture.
  • The next day, drain the vegetables in a sieve or colander and rinse well.
  • Prepare your jars by washing well in warm water and placing in an oven that’s been preheated to 220F. Turn the oven off. Place the two parts of the lids of your canning jars in a small pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • In a large pot, combine sugar, vinegar, garlic and seasonings. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. With a ladle and wide-mouth canning funnel, transfer the relish into the sterilized jars. As you fill each one, wipe the rim with a clean, damp cloth then immediately put the hot lid on and tighten the band with your fingers.
  • The relish can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months. For longer term storage, or to store at room temperature, please follow instructions for safe hot water bath processing for high acid foods.

Makes about 12 cups.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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