Make delicious hot and sweet carrot relish and keep in your freezer to bring a burst of flavor to so many dishes – grilled or roasted chicken, cured meats, salads, or topping crackers.
I used to wonder when I saw recipes for relishes, chutneys, and savory “jams” how I’d use them in everyday cooking. They seemed like things I only saw in restaurants and cookbooks. Can you relate? If you grew up like I did in a meat-and-potatoes household, you probably can.
Oh, but this is yet another world that gardening can open up for you! In addition to the soul-deep joy to be found in planting and growing food from dirt and seeds (seriously, WOW) and the satisfaction of providing for your family, everyone who gardens usually faces at one time or another the question:
What am I going to do with all these _______ (fill in the blank)?
The first time I asked that question my counters were loaded with tomatoes. Salsa had been canned, roasted tomato sauce had been frozen, and plum tomatoes had been dried and stored in oil (all of it had been recorded in my preserving notebook, of course). What to make next?
The answer was Addictive Tomato Chutney which was as life-changing as any food item could be. The question of how to use it in real life cooking became, “what do I not use it on?” Um…that would be desserts, basically!
I realized that chutneys, along with relishes and other savory condiments, can enhance so many things. They bring everyday, easy foods like grilled meats and roasted vegetables to a whole new flavor level. Rhubarb chutney is superb with pork, corn relish makes salads come alive, and plum sauce is like ketchup for Asian dishes.
So when I found an email in my inbox asking if I’d like to review a new cookbook full of preserves like these, it was easy to say “yes please.” And when I got this beautiful book? I knew you guys would like it as much as I did!
All the recipes in Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen are freezer or refrigerated small batch preserves, making it simple to do in an hour here or there with your garden or farmer’s market produce. The recipes are divided into sections under Vegetables (Roasted Beet & Tomato Relish, Harrisa Dip), Fruits (Blackberry Preserves with Lime & Candied Ginger, Elderberry Apple Butter), and Seasonings (Honey Mustard, Ginger Syrup).
I already have four recipes tagged that I want to try – a spicy corn and cabbage relish, pepper ketchup, chipotle tomatillo salsa, and this flavor packed carrot relish that I asked to republish for you here. I thought this would be a fun relish to share because I can see it going with so many things (and the authors give some great serving options too – as they do for all of the recipes in the book), carrots are easy to come by, and it’s so simple to make.
Like, ridiculously simple.
Hot & Sweet Carrot Relish
The ingredients are mostly normal pantry items, though I did have to buy mustard seeds and coriander. I could only find ground coriander, though, instead of seeds (that then should’ve been toasted and crushed). But I’m all like, “hey, one less step and the flavor will still be there” so I didn’t worry about it too much.
See these three steps above? After preparing your vegetables this is all you have to do to create a fantastic carrot relish! Dump all the ingredients into a pan and cook for a bit before scooping into jars. I just love recipes like this, don’t you?
The one thing the authors recommend that I’ve never seen before is to press little squares of waxed paper over the tops of the preserves before freezing. They say that this helps to keep the ingredients submerged in the brine. Maybe it will help protect the vegetables from freezer burn, too?
I think I must’ve used too many carrots, since I had more relish leftover after filling the three half-pints the recipe indicated as the yield. I wasn’t complaining, though, since this was SO good. Honestly – I’ve never had a relish like this and it was hot (I left the membranes and seeds from the jalapeño) and sweet just like promised.
I served it that night to company and I have to tell you that some of the younger people looked at it like I used to look at relishes and chutneys – “what do you DO with it?” I showed them how to eat a bit with the grilled pork tenderloin (to.die.for), how to add it to a forkful of slaw (amazing), and how to mix it with the grilled green beans (so good).
They were all like, “wow, can you pass some more of that?” I’m pretty sure they’re all in the, “what do you NOT eat it with” camp now.