The alternate title to this post should be “What to do when you grow way too many pickling cucumbers in your urban garden and don’t want any more pickles!” I’ve made dill pickles, sweet pickles, spicy pickles, fermented pickles, refrigerated pickles, and canned pickles… and quite honestly, I’m pickled out. And yet the vines keep on producing more cucumbers, even as the leaves wither and get cut off, those hardy vines just keep growing new leaves and new flowers!
It sounds like I’m complaining, but actually I am in awe of the whole process. From one tiny seed, grows a vine that produces dozens, maybe hundreds of cucumber, each one with the potential to either feed me or to return to the ground as seed for another set of vines.
Gardening is incredible! I’m only sorry now that I didn’t discover that until I was in my 40s (and living in a townhouse outside Washington, DC with very little space to plant one).
If you’ve been reading my blog posts all spring, you’ve seen the progression of my garden and how we are maximizing the space next to and behind our house, both within and outside our privacy fence. In April I showed you the bare dirt outside my home office window, marked off with neat rows, then you saw those rows become spring greens like arugula and bok choy, then those began to give way to summer plants. Now, the side yard is almost completely taken over by the three little watermelon plants I decided to intersperse between the greens. We aren’t sure how to tell when they are ripe, so we experimented with one last week (it wasn’t.)
But obviously… and this is the point of this blog post… cucumbers are the number one harvest right now and I needed to come up with something I could make with them that I could water bath can, since the refrigerator is already full of Mr. Gutsy’s spicy refrigerator pickles and my lacto-fermented half sour dills (yes, we are a mixed pickle marriage). Unfortunately, neither of us really like heat processed canned pickles – him because they aren’t crispy and me because they just aren’t as good as fermented.
Enter pickle relish. I saw a traditional recipe for it in my canning cookbook that called for a shockingly large amount of sugar and thought, “I can do better.” So I set to work. I examined every recipe online and print I can find, including some that called themselves “natural” and used several cups of coconut sugar or honey. I did a little experimenting and eventually discovered that I could still get a nice sweet taste with a much smaller amount of honey and a nice thick consistency with a single secret ingredient that I couldn’t find anyone else used.
The result is a sweet relish that hits all the right flavor notes and can be enjoyed by people in both the elimination phase of the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) and on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.
NOTE: If you don’t want to make a whole batch for preserving and instead just make one cup to enjoy at your next barbecue, simply divide the recipe ingredients by 4 and simmer as long as it takes to get a thick consistency instead of transferring the relish to jars for canning.
Did you know that most distilled white vinegar is made from corn and most corn in the United States is genetically modified so it can be treated with glyphosate (Roundup)? That’s why this recipe calls for apple cider vinegar instead. That means that the finished product will be a dull green, but trust me when I tell you the flavor is still spot-on.
Apple cider vinegar is easy to find these days, but as always… if you are looking for a good place to buy it and all the AIP-friendly ingredients you need for this recipe and the others on my blog, I recommend ShopAIP.
AIP Sweet Cucumber Relish RecipePrint
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