I had a realization yesterday. It dawned on me that I am what you call a volume canner.
I always thought, “I do a fair amount of canning.” and was fine with that. But when I posted a picture of a small portion of what I had taken advantage of the long holiday weekend to preserve, folks’ reactions made me consider it a little more deeply.
“Wow!!” “Woah!!!” “Holy moly!” Er, what?
Oh, I guess not everyone fills five hundred jars in an average summer? (Duh, Rebecca.)
Obsessed? Yeah, quite possibly… but here’s the thing.
I fill jars with items that are delicious, versatile, and NOT PURCHASABLE. Okay, maybe some of the items can be bought in a store, but the majority of them are unattainable unless you make them yourself or are friends with an obsessive canner (like me) who likes to share the proverbial or literal fruits of their labor.
(Like me. Alright. The truth is that if you walk in my house in canning season, you’re likely to find yourself cornered with a spoon full of something pushed toward your face and the phrase, “Try this and tell me what you think!” uttered earnestly.)
And the items that can (pun alert) be bought? I like to think my version tastes a little fresher, is a little better for you, and has a little more romance to it. I’m looking your way concord grape jelly made from grapes I picked with my kids.
I have about five items I make in quantities that give even me pause when I contemplate the numbers. Smoky Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa (at least 86 pints each summer), Candied Jalapenos (in excess of 100 jars annually between what we eat and what we give for gifts), and Garlic Dill Pickles (anywhere between 76 and 96 quarts).
I also make Homemade Unsweetened Fruit Juice (apple, Concord grape, Niagara grape about 60 quarts of concentrate), and the good stuff you see in that picture above (this year, I have about 50 pints and I’m still planning on another couple of batches!) What you’re looking at is Zesty Corn Relish.
Zesty Corn Relish is the combined adaptation of a recipe from ‘The Joy of Pickling’ by my little sister, Jessamine, and I. Jess and I share the canning madness and when the weather cools, we often swap our goods.
A while back, Jess passed a jar of her version of the corn relish my way. It sat on my shelves among my other canned goods for a while waiting for the right moment.
That moment came one night when we had Pulled Pork Tacos (made with this recipe!) on deck and I realized I had forgotten to make any goodies to serve on top. The jar of Jessie’s corn relish came up from the basement and disappeared instantly amidst indecent noises of approval and joy. We knew that was getting made in abundance at that moment.
Jess shared her alterations to the recipe with me, and I decided to add a little more heat to the party by adding jalapeños. The result is a jar of FRESH corn taste (you know corn never tastes as good as when it’s fresh from the field, right?
This gets pretty darned close and is a heckuva lot closer than any frozen or canned corn you can buy at the store in February!) that has a surprising chameleon quality. It goes with e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
Tacos, chili, beans and rice, pot roast (this use comes straight from my Grandma and it is glorious, let me tell you!), grilled or broiled chicken, pork, or fish, sausage… Put it on or in just about anything, stir it into jarred salsa for extra texture or serve it alone with tortilla chips as a stand alone salsa.
My sis serves it as a side salad sometimes! Trust me. Once you’ve tried this, you’re going to want shelves lined with crunchy, savoury, sweet, zippy, Zesty Corn Relish.
Zesty Corn Relish | CanningRate Recipe
- 18 ears of fresh sweet corn on the cob
- 2 cups diced red bell pepper
- 1 1/2 cups diced green bell pepper *See Notes
- 1/2 cup minced fresh jalapeno **See Notes
- 1/4 cup minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons coarse Kosher salt
- 4 teaspoons dried mustard powder
- 4 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- Sterilize at least 10 pint jars (you may only use 6, but it's better to have too many jars ready than to have to sterilize more jars while your relish waits!) If you need help learning how to do this, follow these instructions.
- Shuck the corn and carefully remove the silks. Stand each ear of corn sturdily on its end on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to remove the kernels. Discard the cobs (or use in Corn Stock
- In a large stainless steel or other nonreactive pot, stir together all of the ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. When it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Ladle the hot corn relish into sterile jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace in the jar. Remove air bubbles, adjust corn and liquid level if necessary to maintain the 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe and clean the rim of the jars with a paper towel moistened with vinegar. Fix new two piece lids in place and screw the rings to fingertip tightness.
- Put the filled, lidded jars in a canner, ensure they are covered by at least an inch of hot water, bring to a boil, and process for 15 minutes at a full boil, covered. When the 15 minutes are up, turn off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars rest in the water for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack or a clean towel lined counter top.
- Let them cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours. When they are completely cool, carefully remove the rings, wipe the jars clean, label (with sharpie or sticker), and store on a shelf in a place out of direct sunlight for up to a year.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
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Hi Rebecca- I found this recipe after I had already blanched all my corn for four minutes and cut it off the cob. I went ahead and used the corn for this recipe. I woke up during the middle of night though worried that changing the recipe might harm the contents in the jar. I’m new to canning will what I canned still be safe to eat?
Hi Lesley! You’re a-okay on this one. It will change the finished texture a little bit, but you still have the same acidity because of the brine, so you should be just fine. 🙂
As it cooks will it be a little sweet .right now it very vinegar tast.
Hi Vicki! It is not a sweet relish overall… It’s meant to be a little more tart. The corn lends enough sweetness for me. 🙂
I’m staring at 2 bushels of corn at the moment and will be trying this recipe. Question, is white vinegar interchangeable with the acv? I don’t have that much cider vinegar and really don’t want to get back out in the heat. Also, is there a particular brand of acv that you use ? It seems like Bragg’s would make it dark. Input appreciated
You can absolutely, positively use white vinegar in place of the acv, CJ, as long as it’s still a 5-6% vinegar! It will change the flavour of the brine a little, obviously, but it’s still delicious. I personally prefer to use Bragg’s acv. That’s what I used on the relish in these photos. 🙂
Rebecca Tacheira says
Thank you Rebecca. I have read a lot about flour and botulism. Scary. I shucked 16 ears of corn resulting in 8 cups. Will this amount work. Thanks again
Hi Rebecca- It certainly won’t hurt to have a little less corn in the relish. 🙂 Happy Canning!
Rebecca Tacheira says
Finally a recipe that uses fresh raw corn! Thanks! Will I need to add flour? Thanks again
Hi Rebecca- No flour needed! Fresh corn has naturally occurring pectin, and this is not meant to be super thick anyway!
Rebecca Tacheira says
Thank You. Been searching for days as to whether or not I can use raw corn. I shuck corn in summer and spread on parchment covered baking sheet and freeze. Fresh corn all winter.Just curious if I need to add flour?Rebecca
Hi Rebecca- There is no flour needed in this recipe. I don’t advise using flour in any recipes meant for canning anyway. It is not stable in canned goods.
What happens if I put more pepper than recipe calls for into my corn relish? Will it not keep?
Hi Penne- I wouldn’t mess with the overall amounts of things because you’re trying to keep the acidity balanced for food safety purposes and peppers are very high alkaline food.
How much; in cups, is the 18 ears? Since all the proportions and canning are so critical I’d like to have a better idea of how much volume we’re talking about versus number of years. Thank you
Could I use my leftover cowboy candy jalapeno syrup for this recipe?
Hi Brinda- If you’re going to can the relish, I would not recommend using the jalapeno syrup. It’s not the same flavour balance and I’m not sure whether it would meet the requisite acidity to keep the corn pickles safe.
Christina Marquez says
Hello! Does it matter if it is Raw cider vinegar or not?
Hi Christina! I prefer to use raw cider vinegar in almost all of my recipes calling for cider vinegar, but it’s a personal preference. If you’d like it as I make it, use the raw acv. If it doesn’t matter to you flavourwise, go for whichever you have or prefer!
Katherine Burlison says
This looks soooo yummy. Can I use frozen corn for this realish? And if so, about how many cups would I use? I would love to make this for a Thanksgiving snacker. Lol!
Hi Katherine! I haven’t tried frozen corn in this relish. Hmmm. I’m just not sure. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Hello, did you use a store bought minced garlic or mince your own? Will using store bought thrown off the PH with its oils? This recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to make using our fresh grown corn from this season! Thank you.
Hi Melanie! I definitely mince my own. I wouldn’t use store bought minced oil for the very reasons you mentioned. 🙂 I hope you love this as much as I do!
Believe it or not, no. Not in this one! But I don’t miss it here and I’m a big onion lover!
How many cups of corn, roughly, does 18 ears yield? I am working with corn that’s already been cut from the cob. Thanks!
2 ears of corn yield about 1.5 cups of kernels, so are looking at about 13.5 cups of corn, give or take a bit depending on the size of the ears of corn. 🙂
Christine M Woods says
46years growing organic & I can 800+ jars a season. We grow 12 varieties of fruit trees, berries & grapes. I’m growing tired & have health issues but feeding my family good nutritious food is something I can’t give up. After years of competing in county and state fairs I’m now a county & state fair judge in home preservation & gardening. I really enjoy interacting with the young people. I also teach a canning course in off season. I’m always on lookout for new recipes. I’m canning corn today & think I’ll use the corn in an end of summer garden relish. Have a good day.
Canning really sticks with us, doesn’t it? 🙂 I hope you enjoy the relish, Christine!
An I s as did more sugar to make this sweeter?
Hi Linda- I’m not sure what you’re asking me. The first part of the question was a little lost in translation. 🙂
Edna F Skeen says
Is it necessary to do the hot bath at the end
It sure is if you’d like for it to be shelf stable! If you’re planning on popping it into the refrigerator immediately and consuming within 6 weeks, you should be alright without it.
Any chance that I can make a version of this w.o peppers? I’m allergic to them, but want a good corn relish…..
You bet! You won’t be harming the acidity of this recipe by omitting the peppers. You can simply leave them out or replace them with an equal quantity of more corn. 🙂
Help please! I canned in a water bath but didn’t know to put a lid on the pot. The jars were covered with boiling water. Do you think my Food will still be good since I didn’t use a lid?
Hi Patty- As long as the jars were covered with boiling water the whole time, you should be okay! Just store the jars with the rings off so that if there’s any off-gassing of any bacterial/microbial growth in the jar, it’ll loosen the seal of the lid!
Dumb question, first time making corn relish. Sweet corn already cooked?
Hi Rick- That’s not a dumb question. 🙂 I use raw sweet corn that I’ve cut from the cobs. I do not recommend using already cooked corn for best results.