Sweet Corn Relish was a regular staple in our refrigerator when I was growing up. We put it on everything! I’ve found a recipe that’s just like the store-bought kind, but with less sugar and no preservatives!
There’s this guy that I fantasize about. No! Not in that sense! I have my John.e, after all! I fantasize about him in terms of his bravery, his approach to life, and his ability to live the way him and his wife see fit. His name is Brian, and he lives in Hungary. And, I
stole borrowed this recipe from him, but made a few changes to suit my own personal tastes. Don’t worry, Dear Reader, I already told Brian that I was going to make this recipe and post it to Lord Byron’s Kitchen. He’s a great chap and gave me his blessing.
Brian used to be just like most of us. He worked a 9 to 5 job in the city. But, him and his wife quit their jobs, and left England behind to settle into a home in Hungary. Can you imagine how much courage and bravery it took for both of them to quit their jobs? And then, move to a foreign country – one where they didn’t even speak the language!! Oh, and did I mention that they bought a small house with a lot of land and their plan was to grow their own food and live off the grid, so to speak?
As much as I envy the both of them, and as much as John.e and I long to own a hobby farm some day, I could never bring myself to quit my job without first having another solid source of income, and of course, I wouldn’t even think about moving somewhere where there would be such a language barrier! But, they’ve made it work. I scroll through his Instagram feed and dream of the day when I can do something similar.
I read through his blog posts and catch glimpses of his life through his stories and recipes. Oh, did I forget to mention that in addition to maintaining crops, he also has a food blog? I might have started with that; you see, that’s how I came to know Brian. His blog, Krumpli, which is Hungarian for potato, is fantastic. His cooking style is quite different from what you’re used to right here at Lord Byron’s Kitchen, but I highly encourage you to take a look anyway – if only for his mouthwatering photos!
Anyway, enough fantasizing; let’s get back to this Sweet Corn Relish recipe. Even though I basically followed Brian’s recipe, I did change it up just a little bit. Not only did I increase the amounts, because I wanted to make enough to can, but I also decreased the sugar, and cut out the hot peppers completely. I substituted the hot peppers with red bell peppers, because that’s how I remember it to be from my childhood.
When all was said and done, despite the 8 jars of Sweet Corn Relish that you see in the photographs, my recipe yielded 14 jars. (My jars were 250 ml size.) To be honest, I made this recipe after work one evening, and by the time I did the canning water bath, and allowed the jars to cool down, it was too dark to take the photos. About a week passed by before I got my camera out, and by then, I was short a few jars. Ha! I couldn’t wait!
Sweet Corn Relish, for me, has always been about the combination of the corn, the brown sugar, the onion, and the mustard seeds. Truth be told, I could do without the red bell peppers. Other than make the final product look prettier, I don’t think it really does much. That sweet, thick, golden sauce is superbly delicious! You might note that the sauce in my photos doesn’t look super thick, which is very unlike the store-bought kind, but there’s a very good reason for that.
In addition to reducing the amount of sugar, I also wanted to reduce the amount of cornstarch it would take to make the Sweet Corn Relish super thick. You can certainly add more cornstarch to yours if you want a thicker sauce.
So, now that I have so many jars of Sweet Corn Relish, what can I do with them? Well, there’s really no end to what you can do with this condiment. Like Brian had mentioned in his recipe, he likes to top a burger with the relish, and trust me, Dear Reader, this option is glorious! I personally prefer to keep the relish cold. I like to serve it with cold cuts and bread. It pairs very well with ham and roast beef. It’s also very good as a topping on fish. Tuna loves Sweet Corn Relish! Try it on baked potato with some sour cream, or served at a picnic with fried chicken. Or, just eat it out of the jar; nobody will judge you, least of all – me!
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Sweet Corn Relish
- 8 cups corn (can use frozen corn)
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 2 large red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 6 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 cups vinegar
- 8 cups water, plus 3 tablespoons
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
Add the brown sugar, salt, mustard seeds, paprika, black pepper, vinegar, and 8 cups of water to a large pot and whisk to combine.
Add the corn, onion, and red bell peppers. Stir to combine.
Turn on the heat to medium and allow the mixture to come to a low boil. Once the relish starts to boil, stir and allow to cook for 15 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare 14 250 ml jars by washing them thoroughly with hot, soapy water. Be sure to rinse the jars until the soap residue is gone. Set the jars aside. Next, boil a kettle full of water. Place the seals and jar rings into a large bowl. Pour the boiled water over top and let them sit.
Prepare your canning pot for the water bath method. I use a large stock pot with a round metal cooling rack at the bottom so that the jars do not touch the bottom of the pot. Fill the pot half full with water and bring to full boil.
Next, whisk together the 3 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch. Pour into the relish and whisk into the mixture.
Lower the heat to simmer and allow to cook for 10 more minutes.
Using a ladle, spoon the relish into the prepared jars. I like to use a metal funnel to avoid any of the relish coming into contact with the rim of the jar. This will help to create a better and safer seal. Fill the jar so that only 1/2 inch of head space remains. Remove the funnel and place a hot, sterilized seal on the jar. Screw on the lid until just snug. Be careful! The jar will be hot! Use a kitchen towel to hold the jar in place as you screw on the lid.
Using a jar lifter, place the filled jars into the large pot of boiling water. Bring the pot back to a boil and allow the jarred relish to remain in the boiling water for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the jars and place on a kitchen towel where they will not be disturbed. As the jars cool, you’ll hear a popping sound. This is the hot liquid and air in the jar cooling down and contracting. This will create an air-tight seal and will allow you to store your relish for future consumption.
For best results, I recommend allowing the jars to sit undisturbed for at least 12 hours. With a damp cloth, wipe down the jars, re-tighten the lids, and store in a dark, cool place. The relish will last for 12-18 months. Lastly, if you notice that a jar has not properly sealed, simply refrigerate that particular jar, and consume within the next 5-7 days. To test whether or not the jars are sealed, lightly press down on the seal. If the seal pops downward, the sealing process did not work.
One serving is equal to two tablespoons. Each jar will yield 8 servings. The total recipe will yield 112 servings.
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