Zucchini Relish

“You can’t make relish, that’s something you buy at the store!” Words of disdain and unbelief from a young teen.

zucchini relish

Our nephew was visiting. His desired foods at age 13 were very limited. But, like most teens, he liked hot dogs. With relish.

At least he liked hot dogs with relish until I broke out the homemade stuff. I am pretty sure he thought I was trying to trick him into eating something healthy. After all, it didn’t look like the hot dog relish he knew (and loved). Poor kid. Thank goodness he never realized that not only was it homemade relish, it was homemade zucchini relish. Egads!

I love zucchini, but sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the garden harvest. So, I just pretend the zucchini are cucumbers and make sweet pickle relish. I’ve done this for years and no one has ever noticed that my delicious homemade hot dog relish was missing cucumbers. If you are blessed (or cursed) with too many zucchini you can make your own relish too.

Zucchini Relish
Homemade sweet relish is a great way to use up excess garden zucchini. For a more "store-bought" appearance, cut the vegetables into tiny pieces.
Recipe type: Canning
Serves: 8 half-pints
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 cups diced zucchini
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup canning salt
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3½ cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 Tbsp celery seed
  1. In a large pot combine zucchini, onion, and peppers.
  2. Sprinkle with canning salt and cover with cold water. Let sit 2 hours.
  3. Drain and rinse.
  4. Meanwhile, in a large pot combine vinegar, sugar and seeds.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil. Add vegetable mixture and stir to combine.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Ladle hot mixture into 8 half-pint jars. Adjust the two-piece caps and process in the water bath canner for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove from the canner and let cool. As with all pickled products, the relish will have increased flavor if allowed to sit for three weeks before using.

More Tips:

You can use any kind of zucchini in this recipe. I often use a variety of green and yellow, because that is what grows in my garden. It is not necessary to peel the zucchini, but do remove large seeds from overgrown bulbs.

Not sure about the water bath canning process? See our step-by-step tutorial here.


I honestly can’t remember if my nephew ate the relish all those years ago. I am guessing he probably didn’t. But teens grow up, and so he has – into a wonderful young and caring man. Luckily the list of foods he will eat has grown too. So don’t despair, all you moms of picky teens, sooner or later they will start eating real food. I promise.

by Renee Pottle

Renee Pottle, a freelance writer and Home Economist, is fanatic about all things food. She blogs about canning and food preservation at SeedToPantry.com. Find her professional food writing info at PenandProvisions.com.

September 12, 2015

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  1. V Murphy

    Would it be okay to use cucumber and zucchini.

    • admin

      That should work!


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