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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Microwave Relish



Last July, I told my readers about a simple recipe for microwave pickles. I made the recipe many times and so did my readers, who emailed me, called me and stopped me at Wal-Mart as much as six months later to tell me how much they loved that easy pickle recipe.

Just this week, I heard from a neighbor who had made her first two batches of the season, and my husband and I have made two recipes already as well.

Because that recipe was so popular last year, I wanted to try something new this year. I decided on microwave pickle relish. I started with last year’s simple recipe for microwave bread and butter pickles and just varied the vegetables.

I used cucumbers, sweet onion, green bell pepper and pimiento. Next time I make the relish, I will use red bell pepper instead of pimiento, but I didn’t have any at the house, so I improvised. (Funny how hard it is to leave the house and go to the grocery store when it’s hot and humid outside!)

The relish takes a little more time than the very quick pickles because you must do a lot of chopping.

To prepare my unpeeled cucumbers (which we grew, by the way!) I sliced then in half vertically, then in half again to make quarters. I then sliced off the inside seeds, leaving the firmer flesh to cut. Using a chopping board, I made very small cubes out of my cucumbers.

I carefully chopped the onion and bell pepper in small cubes as well and left the diced pimientos as they came in the jar.

The vegetables are then cooked in a vinegar solution that’s mixed with sugar and pickling spice, and everything is cooked in the microwave for 7-8 minutes.

It’s really that simple.

Once you’ve eaten your relish, which is stored in the refrigerator, you can make another batch in the remaining relish syrup.

I’m sure many of you are either growing your own vegetables this summer or relying on fresh produce from area farmers markets, so take advantage of the summer bounty and give this recipe a try.

Click here to read last year’s pickle column.



Microwave Pickle Relish
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups cucumbers, diced small
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons diced pimiento or 1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice*
Place diced cucumbers, onion and pepper in microwave-safe bowl. Pour other ingredients over vegetables. Cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Microwave on high for 8 minutes.

Let cool before pouring into container for storage. Store in refrigerator after cooling.

*Instead of pickling spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed, 1/4 teaspoon celery seed and 1/4 teaspoon tumeric.



Microwave Bread and Butter Pickles
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups sliced cucumbers
  • 1 cup sliced Vidalia onions
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice*
Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. I used a batter bowl.

Microwave on high for 7-8 minutes.

Let cool slightly before pouring into container for storage. Store in refrigerator after cooling.

*Instead of pickling spice, you can use 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed, 1/4 teaspoon celery seed and 1/4 teaspoon tumeric.

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