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'm not 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 as a side dish to guests and some of them looked at it like I used to look at relishes and chutneys - "uh, what do you DO with this?"
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 in the, "what do you NOT eat it with" camp now.
Here are a few more ways to use this delicious carrot relish:
- Top a base of lettuce or spinach with the relish and sprinkle feta over it - instant salad.
- Use as a topping for any green salad.
- Stuff into pitas with other vegetables, meats and/or cheese.
- Spread goat cheese on crackers and top with the relish - so good.
Small Batch Hot & Sweet Carrot Relish Freezer Preserves
- 1 pound carrots coarsely shredded (about 4 cups)
- 3 tablespoons minced jalapeno pepper*
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds toasted & crushed
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar**
- Combine all of the ingredients in a 10-inch sauté pan set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture is sticky and glossy, about 20 minutes. If the relish appears too dry, add a little apple juice or water.
- Wash the jars, lids, and bands in hot soapy water, rinse well, and place them upside down on a clean towel to drain.
- Spoon the relish into the jars, leaving a half inch of headroom to allow for expansion during freezing. Cover each jar with a square of wax paper slightly larger than the jar opening, fold in the corners with a clean spoon, and gently push down so some of the syrup comes up over the paper. Wipe the rims with a clean wet cloth or paper towel, add the lids and bands, and finger tighten the bands.
- Label the jars. Allow the relish to cool completely and tighten the bands before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
Copyright 2017 by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the University of Minnesota Press
Recipe from Savory Sweet: Simple Preserves from a Northern Kitchen by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen (University of Minnesota Press, 2017). Copyright 2017 by Beth Dooley and Mette Nielsen. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the University of Minnesota Press.