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Relishes and Salsas

Relishes and Salsa Workshop

Relish, from Merriam Webster:

something adding a zestful flavor; especially: a condiment (as of pickles or green tomatoes) eaten with other food to add flavor

Salsa a spicy sauce of tomatoes, onions, and hot peppers


Basically we are talking about a condiment that is made up of a vegetable or fruit base, and includes aromatics, seasonings and acid. In America the most popular relishes are made from pickles, but worldwide there are many variations on the theme. It is thought that many relishes were created to preserve the harvest and I have included instructions for water bath canning of some of these. They are perfectly fine to store in the refrigerator for about a week without the hot water bath process.

Please note that if you plan to store these without refrigeration, they will need to be processed.  Do not play with the proportions as you must maintain a specific degree of acidity for safe canning. (Please don’t let that put you off – water bath canning is very easy and foolproof – no worries about botulism – as long as you maintain the acidity.)  Tomatoes are by nature highly acidic as are many fruits and all recipes will have acid added to them for both taste and canning safety. 

The terms relish and salsa are mostly interchangeable these days, though salsa generally calls to mind the Mexican spicy condiment from which it’s name is derived.

Fresh relishes/salsa are very easy and fast and use a minimum of ingredients, relying on freshness of those ingredients to provide maximum flavor. They are best as condiments for main course items, ie: fish, poultry, vegetarian entrees. These do not store for very long – but you won’t have any problem eating them up!

Cooked relishes/salsas are generally more complex in taste than their fresh counterparts, employing more spices and a layering of flavors. They may be used the same way fresh ones are, and are also very fine served with cheese, atop bread as bruschetta, as a marinade or simply with chips.  Some make a nice dip for veggies. These can be stored for a week or two in the refrigerator.

Relishes and salsas are a great way to spice up your cuisine and add an interesting twist to what you do with your CSA share.





These are wonderful condiments to add flavor and texture to an entrée – good on fish, chicken or tofu – try grilled eggplant with salsa.


Basic Salsa-Making Method:

Fruit or Vegetable – you want something that will exude some juice, and also something you would eat raw. Very fresh corn is okay.

                  Sample list: tomato, corn, cucumber, apple, peach, mango (really great), pineapple, zucchini
                  Chop into small dice (1/4-1/2”)


red onion, cut into same size dice

jalapeño (optional)

chopped fresh herbs: cilantro or other herbs (basil with tomato, dill with cucumber works particularly nicely, and mint         is another option.  You may also combine two herbs... parsley and cilantro is a classic, as is parsley with mint.)

salt & papper to taste

lime juice (or vinegar)

salt & pepper to taste

lime juice (or vinegar)

Note: Proportions are about 3 parts fruit to scant 2 parts onion, 1 part cilantro. Lime juice to taste. 

Add capers and olives to a veggie salsa
Substitute vinegar for lime juice.  Sherry vinegar is nice, as is balsamic
Refrigerate to store for a couple of days.  Serve room temperature or cool.




Cherry Tomato & Corn Relish


1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered

2 ears of corner, kernels removed

1/2 red onion, minced

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1 clove of garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

1.     Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

2.     Add in the corn kernels, cherry tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper.

3.     Cook until vegetables are just tender, about 4 minutes, and stir in the parsley.


From Food52


Simple Corn Relish

8 c. freshly cut corn kernels — about 20 ears
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 c. chopped celery
3 c. white vinegar
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 T. + 1 t. salt
2 T. whole coriander seeds
1 t. dry mustard
1 t. Tabasco sauce


Mix the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander, mustard in a large heavy kettle.  Turn heat to medium-high, and when the liquid comes to a boil, add all the vegetables and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes, slowly stirring to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat and ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Seal and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.



Sweet Pepper and Corn Relish


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 3/4 cups diced red bell pepper (3 or 4 peppers)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

4 cups fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels

1 3/4 cups diced red onion (1 very large onion)

1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the bell peppers and salt and sauté, stirring often, until the peppers soften and begin to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the corn, stirring to combine, and cook the vegetables until the corn is hot, 3 to 4 minutes more. Turn off the heat and add the onion to the pan; stir well.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the vinegar, sugar and turmeric and stir just until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.

Pack the vegetables tightly into 3 clean 1-pint jars, and pour the warm brine over the vegetables to cover completely, discarding any unused brine. To can the relish for longer storage, process the jars for canning. Otherwise, cover tightly, and let the relish sit at room temperature for 1 day before moving it to the refrigerator.

Refrigerated, this will keep for up to 6 months. Canned, it will keep for up to 1 year.

Makes three 1-pint jars.


from Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It And Other Kitchen Projects by Karen Solomon, copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.



Spicy Zucchini Relish

10 cups grated zucchini
4 cups finely chopped or grated onion
2 bell peppers (color is your choice, but red sure is pretty!)
6 jalapeno peppers
5 Tbsp. salt

Wash and de-seed the peppers and place on a broiler pan. Broil on high, close to the flame for about 10 minutes, turning once. After they cool, dice fine.

Mix the zucchini, onions, peppers and salt together and let stand 6 hours or overnight. A lot of liquid will be drawn out of the vegetables. When salt soak is completed, drain and rinse thoroughly and allow to drain while preparing jars.

Prepare 6 pint jars and lids. Prepare boiling water bath.

Put the veggie mixture in a large pot and add:

2 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. mustard seeds
2 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Mix well and heat on medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn to medium-low and simmer until thick - about 35 minutes. Ladle into prepared jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Susan Can Cook blog



Spicy Eggplant Salsa


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 1/2 cups eggplant, ¼-inch dice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sliced green olives

1 tablespoon capers, drained

1 cup chopped roma tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

matzo crackers or tortilla chips for serving


In a medium saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add eggplant and garlic and sauté for 5 to 8 minutes, or until eggplant softens but is still holding its shape. Set aside to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine olives, capers, tomatoes, onions, parsley, vinegar, pepper flakes, lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to mix well. Add cooled eggplant mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve cool or at room temperature with crackers or tortilla chips. Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Jamie Geller,


Roasted Tomato and Pepper Salsa

3 lbs ripe tomatoes, cored (I used a mix of Early Girls and heirlooms)
4 jalapeños
2 medium chilies, like Anaheim
1 onion, diced
8 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of one lime
Handful of fresh cilantro
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your broiler for about 10 minutes.

Lay out your tomatoes, jalapeños, and chilies on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil for about 10 minutes and check for black char marks. These are good! If the tops are well-charred, it’s time to turn. Char tomatoes, peppers, and chilies on all sides — removing the jalapeños and chilies if you have to, in order to ensure the tomatoes get really dark and toasty.

Rest the tomatoes, peppers, and chilies until they’re cool enough to handle. Peel off the black skin of the peppers and tomatoes and remove the stems.

Mash the chilies, lime, a heavy pinch of sea salt, and garlic with the back of a fork. Add in the tomatoes and mash with the tomato, err, potato masher until you reach your desired consistency. Add onion and cilantro and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Peach and Tomato Salsa

Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 45 mins
Serves: 6 1/2-pints
Sweet and tangy, this is a summery fruit salsa with just a touch of heat.

3 cups ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and cut in 1/2-inch pieces (5-6 nectarines)
3 cups plum tomatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch pieces (8-9 tomatoes)
1-1/4 cup red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, ribs and seeds removed or intact, according to your taste (I used just one jalapeno, and removed ribs and seeds)
1 sweet red pepper, seeds and membranes removed, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, leaves removed from stems
3/4 cup cider vinegar
4 Tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (boost to 1/2 teaspoon for more heat)

In a large pot of boiling water, blanch the peaches for 30-60 seconds, depending on the size of the fruit. Do the same for the tomatoes. 
Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Remove the fruit and tomatoes from the hot water and drop it into the ice water, letting it rest in the water for a minute or two. Slip the peels from both the peaches and tomatoes. Remove the pits from the peaches and cut into a 1/2-inch pieces; dice the tomatoes in 1/2-inch pieces, too.

Add the peaches to a 5 qt. non-reactive pan. Add the cider vinegar, honey and spices and stir well. The vinegar will keep the fruit from discoloring.

Put the onion, peppers, garlic and cilantro in the food processor and pulse until everything is cut up quite small, but not liquified in any way. (If you don’t have a food processor, chop by hand, but make sure the pieces are smaller than the pieces of peach.

Add the chopped vegetables to the peach-and-tomato mixture and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring gently so the peaches do not break apart.

Put hot salsa into 6 hot 1/2-pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

adapted from Cathy Barrow



Shiro Plum & White Corn Salsa

one ear of corn, preferably white

zest + juice of 1 large lime

1 lb Shiro plums, rinsed, halved, pitted and diced

1/2 red onion, diced to 1/-4 inch

1 sweet green pepper, diced (I used Cubanelle)

jalapeño pepper, minced, without seeds (add seeds back in for extra heat)

1 tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar (optional)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Husk the corn, wrap in a clean, wet tea towel, and microwave on high for 1 minute. Allow to steam in the towel while you prep the other ingredients. Alternatively, steam or boil the corn in water on the stove top, or if it’s fresh enough, use it raw.

Combine lime zest, juice and plums in a medium bowl, tossing to coat plums (and prevent browning). Add onion, peppers, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cut corn kernels off the cob and add to the salsa. Taste and adjust seasonings (add a splash of lemon juice or vinegar if needed). For best taste, allow to blend and mellow at room temperature for an hour or so, or refrigerated overnight. Add fresh cilantro, toss and serve.