Relish the Thought (Canning Dill Relish)

No matter how thorough you are, there always seem to be a couple pickling cucumbers that hide from you and by the time you find them they’re about the size of a pint jar… or bigger.  You don’t need to let those cucumbers go to waste, they’re perfect for making relish.  If you don’t have pickling cucumbers you can go ahead and make this with slicing cucumbers.  I did.

Homemade pickle relish is delicious, and it’s not difficult to make your own.  A food processor makes short work of prepping all the ingredients.  A couple-hour soak in salted water is followed by a short boil, then simply pack in into jars and process it in a water bath canner.

The first thing we’re going to do is prep our cucumbers.  8 pounds of them.

The easiest way to seed cucumbers is to use a spoon to scrape them out.  Hold the spoon as parallel as you can to the cucumber so that seeds fly against the spoon, not all over you.  In college I worked as an intern for the Department of Natural Resources processing fish samples for their mercury and PCB consumption advisories.  Long story short, I scaled and filleted fish of varying degrees rottenness all summer, for two summers.  I was having flashbacks of fish scales flying at me and sticking to me as I was seeding my cucumbers.  This job is also the reason I can never eat sushi.

Back to relish…


Once they’re de-seeded, just chunk them and pulse them in your food processor.  Don’t overdo it, it only takes 8-10 pulses to get the chop you want.


Put the cucumbers in a large bowl (or ice cream bucket), add 1/2 cup of salt and 2 teaspoons of turmeric.  Add a quart of cold water, give it a little stir, and let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours.


Just before the two hours is up, you can get the remainder of your ingredients ready in your pot.  Add 1 pound of finely chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of dill seed, 1/3 cup of sugar, and a quart of white vinegar.


You can also fill up your water bath canner and start prepping your jars and lids.

After two hours, drain the cucumbers.  To do this without losing all the little pieces I lined my salad spinner with a clean kitchen towel that I was willing to toss in the garbage when I was done with it (because turmeric).


Drain it, rinse it, then drain it again.  Give it a little squeeze to get a good deal of the moisture out.  Put your cucumbers in the pot with the rest of the ingredients, bring it to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.



After 10 minutes, carefully ladle the relish into your jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.


Release any air bubbles and add more relish, if necessary to maintain 1/4 inch headspace.

Wipe your rims with a damp cloth or paper towel.


Put on your lid and screw on the ring.


Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.  Start timing when the water reaches a rolling boil.

Once the processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the jars cool in the canner for 10 minutes before removing them and placing them on a towel in a draft-free area to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.

Once the jars have cooled, remove the rings and check the seal by pressing down on the lid (the lid should be held down by the vacuum, if it pops up and down it isn’t sealed – put it in the fridge and use it within 2 weeks).


Use it to top your hot dog, brat, or hamburger, or use it in a homemade potato salad.  Don’t have a potato salad recipe?  Try my Potato Salad with Egg and Dill.




15 thoughts on “Relish the Thought (Canning Dill Relish)

  1. Hey Kimberly, nice tutorial. I have never made relish. I tried pickles before, but I had issues with them being mushy or at least not as crisp as store bought. I kinda gave up on them because we didnt eat enough to make it worth my while. I want to try canning grape juice for the first time this year. Do you do that?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s tough to get crispy pickles. We haven’t done pickles for a few years, but now they make “pickle crisp” that I would like to try the next time we do them. If you want really crispy pickles unfortunately you need to just make refrigerator pickles and not process them. I have read that if you ferment your pickles it yields a crispier pickle than if you fresh pack them, but that’s an experiment I’m just not ready for!

      I’ve never done grape juice – it’s not really the climate for grapes around here. I have successfully done tomato juice, and have made plum juice as part of the jelly-making process. The method would be largely the same – boil them to soften, run them through a food mill or juicer to remove skins and seeds. I’d be interested to see how it turns out for you.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I may be giving it a try this week. My mother-in-law used to make it and my mom I think tried it too a long time ago. My mom said I can pick any grapes I want at her house. She doesn’t want them. My last sibling at home is getting married in November and they will have an empty house.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I actually made a version of a sweet zucchini relish that I’m hoping to post soon. You don’t need to pressure can this recipe because of the added vinegar. Processing at the higher temperature would probably make the cucumbers mushy. If you only have a pressure canner you can use it as a water bath canner. The instructions for mine say it’s acceptable for pints and half pints, and I’ve done it a number of times, mostly before I bought the water bath canner. Mine isn’t deep enough to water bath quarts, but there are models that are bigger than mine out there.


  2. Kimberly, I chose your post for my extra blog feature that I do just on my blog for the people that are leaving comments on the link-up party! Come grab your featured button tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

What do you have to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s