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Homemade relish recipes spice up cookout meals

Dear Lynn: I’m looking for some recipes for candy that are tasty but not too complicated. — Mary, from North Utica

Debbie, from Freeport, has shared her recipe for hot dog relish with lots of friends and family over the years. Dan, from Quincy, says his "everything but the kitchen sink" relish is delicious served over grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Jessica, from Adrian, gives away pints of her dixie relish for birthday and Christmas gifts.

Hot dog relish

3 peeled carrots

3 sweet red peppers, cored and seeded

8 cups coarsely chopped cucumbers

8 cups peeled and quartered green tomatoes

8 cups peeled and quartered onions

1/2 cup salt

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons mixed pickling spices

Finely chop or grind vegetables in a food processor or blender. Place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and let stand overnight. Drain well and place mixture in a large pot. Add sugar, vinegar and cayenne pepper. Place pickling spices in a square of cheesecloth and use string or a twist tie to close. Add to vegetable mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Lower temperature and continue to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove spice bag. Pour relish into hot sterilized pint jars. Seal with rings and lids. Makes about 6 pints.

'Everything but the kitchen sink' relish

16 medium chopped and cored green tomatoes

8 medium chopped, peeled and cored red ripe tomatoes

1 small head cabbage

3 onions, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

1 medium cucumber, chopped

1 cup chopped green peppers

1 cup red sweet peppers

1/2 cup salt

4 c brown sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 clove of garlic, minced

2 quarts vinegar

Combine green and red tomatoes, cabbage, onions, celery, cucumber, green peppers and sweet red peppers in a large bowl or crock. Add salt and mix well with a wooden spoon. Let stand for a day. Rinse vegetables and thoroughly drain. Combine brown sugar, celery seed, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, garlic and vinegar in a stock pot. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add vegetables, stir and simmer an additional 30 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil. Pack hot relish into hot pint jars, leaving quarter-inch headspace. Seal with lids and finger tightened rings. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. Set jars on a towel on the counter to cool. Leave undisturbed for 24 hours.

Dixie relish

2 cups chopped green peppers

2 cups chopped sweet red peppers

4 cups chopped cabbage

2 cups chopped white onions

2 tablespoon salt

4 tablespoons mustard seed

2 tablespoons celery seed

3 whole hot red peppers

1 quart white vinegar

Place chopped green and sweet red peppers in a large pot. Add cabbage and onions. Sprinkle with salt. Add mustard seed, celery seed and hot peppers. Mix well. Pour in vinegar. Let stand overnight. Drain liquid into another pot. Heat to simmering. Add vegetable mixture and cook for 10 minutes. Remove hot peppers and discard. Ladle relish into clean and hot pint jars then seal. Makes 5 pints of relish.

• LYNN ECKERLE is author of the weekly food column The Recipe Exchange along with a weekly blog, Fun, Food and More at She has published the cookbooks “Farmhouse Cooking” and “Country Cooking." She lives in Southern Michigan, loves country cooking, small-town living and taking the back roads. Send recipes and requests to The Recipe Exchange at

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