This blog is mainly a rambling kind of diary of the transition from smallholderwannabe to smallholder.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Hot Summer!

Well, the heatwave has continued and I've only had a few nights when I could sleep without the fan on all night. What a hot summer we are having! I'm not very good with hot weather and think lovely thoughts about all those typical British summers we have had in the past when I needed to wear some sort of woolly every day. I must admit that I've been getting up early on the days when I've had to cook and bake for the church coffeeshop. I discovered that having the ovens and the hob on during this hot summer was not to my liking, to put it mildly.  Fortunately there are only a few soup diehards among our customers, so I've not had to have the hob on for soup very often. I've been packaging the soup in two portion containers and put lots of those in the freezer, in order to stretch the shelf life of a batch of soup. Seems to be working : )

The allotment has been suffering for the lack of water although we did have a deluge in the early hours of the morning a couple of days ago. Everybody's courgettes and cucumbers are coming on in droves after that bit of rain but we could do with a bit more.

I've been given three cucumbers and I've been looking to see where I put the bit of paper with my lovely cucumber relish recipe that was given by Tania at Frugal in Essex last summer on her blog. I made it and gave my family a jar each in their Christmas stockings and it went down really well. I thought it had a lovely flavour. My husband is not keen on any pickles other than onions or Branston Pickle although he will eat Lidl's version of Branston. So this batch of sweet cucumber relish will be mine, all mine : )

Sweet cucumber relish

• 2 lbs cucumbers, peeled, centre row of seeds removed, and finely diced
• 1 medium onion finely diced ( I used red for extra colour)
• 1 large red bell pepper, finely diced (I used half red, half yellow for colour)
• 1 stalk of finely diced celery (or heaped teaspoon of celery salt)
• 1oz salt
• 6oz white granulated sugar
• 400ml cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon brown mustard seed
• 1 bay leaf (optional)

Place the diced cucumbers, onion, and red bell pepper in a large mixing bowl. Combine with the salt and pour water over the mixture until just covered. Let sit for at least 6 hours or overnight.
• Drain the cucumber mixture in a colander, rinse thoroughly with water, and drain well.
• In a large stock pot, add the sugar, vinegar, and mustard seed and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the drained cucumber mixture and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
• Ladle the hot relish into sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and seal tightly with the lids.
• Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. (The 3 jars I made fitted  into my deep pressure cooker pan. Boiling water was added to the start of the neck of the jar)
• Sealed jars will store in a cool, dark place for a year. If the seal is broken, the relish will keep in the fridge for a month.

Note from Tania: This is a basic recipe found all over the internet, I did notice that some people add a teaspoon of cornflour near the end of the cooking process to produce a syrupy sauce.

Note from me: I left out the water bath bit as that is more for Americans and it kept just fine.

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  • At 12:07 PM, Blogger Frugal in Essex Tania said…

    I'm still using last year's relish and we love it with all the summer foods we are enjoying. Hubby loves it with cheese to.


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