A very precise and accurate copycat version of Harry & David’s popular relish, Pepper and Onion Relish is a condiment you’ll use over and over again, making it so worth the effort!
Combining red bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos into a condiment sounds quite easy, doesn’t it? Well, to be perfectly honest, this recipe does requite a little bit of work, but the effort it takes to prepare is so worth it! You’ll be surprised how many dishes you can prepare using my Pepper and Onion Relish as an ingredient!
A ROAD TRIP WAS THE INSPIRATION
A few months ago, a workmate of mine drove all the way from Toronto to Kentucky for the Kentucky Derby. That’s a very long drive! I have nothing against road trips, but if I’m going to sit in a car for that long, there had better be some good shopping when I reach the destination, or at least on the way back.
Come to think of it, I have repeatedly asked John.e to take a road trip from Toronto to Oklahoma. I’m not sure why I thought driving to Kentucky was a long stretch when clearly Oklahoma would be a much longer drive. But there’s something more exciting than the Kentucky Derby waiting for me in Pawhuska, Oklahoma – the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile! It’s on my bucket list, for sure!
The need to prepare this Pepper and Onion Relish at home was the result of Vera’s trip to Kentucky. Vera is a huge fan of horse racing, so one of the things on her bucket list was to attend the Kentucky Derby. On her last day at the office, I wished her a safe trip and told her to bring me back something pretty. She brought back Pepper and Onion Relish.
HARRY & DAVID
Well, actually, she brought back a Harry & David’s variety pack consisting of four jars of their jarred relish. There was Hot & Smokey, Sweet, Pineapple, and Classic; I’ve made this copycat version of Pepper and Onion Relish recipe to mimic Harry & David’s classic edition.
I was first introduced to the Harry & David’s brand a few years ago when I purchased a bag of Moose Munch popcorn at Christmastime. It was some of the best popcorn I’ve ever eaten. I had no idea the relish collection was so good though until Vera introduced me to it. Now, I have a pantry stocked with my homemade version so that I can enjoy it anytime without the need for a road trip to Kentucky!
So, now that I have about 8 jars of this, what am I going to do with it? I think one of the best ways to use it can be found on the Harry & David’s website. They suggest adding it to softened cream cheese and whisking together for a dip. I think the cream cheese version makes a better spread than a dip. For a dip, I would combine it with sour cream.
Since the relish has red bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, and tomatoes, I thought that it would be delicious to whisk a few tablespoons into a couple of eggs. It was an instant – and an insanely delicious – omelette without lots of washing and chopping vegetables!
Try smearing it onto your burgers and hot dogs. Putting out a cheeseboard for your guests? Add some crackers and thinly sliced crostini, along with a goat cheese log that has been topped with the relish. Speaking of cheese, the ever popular and classic appetizer, baked brie, would be absolutely delightful with a big dollop right on top!
How about this idea? In a hurry to make a quick dinner or side dish? Boil some rotini or penne pasta. Drain well and rinse under cold water. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, and as much Pepper and Onion Relish you feel is necessary. Add in some freshly chopped parsley, and maybe some crumbled feta or parmesan. Toss together and serve. Or better yet, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. This would be great at a picnic!
And when all else fails, Dear Reader, you can eat the relish however you see fit. Personally, I tend to like it just the way it is – right out of the jar. I like to chop up a skinless, boneless chicken breast, toss it onto a bed of lettuce and drizzle over a bit of the relish. You can’t get any simpler or better than that!
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Pepper and Onion Relish
- 8 cups tomatoes, finely chopped, pulp and seeds removed
- 4 cups red bell peppers, finely chopped
- 3 cups onions, finely chopped
- 8 whole jalapenos, finely chopped, seeds removed
- 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- Add all of the ingredients to a large, study stock pot. I used my dutch oven for this. Stir the ingredients together over medium heat.
- Stirring occassionally, cook for 2 hours until the ingredients break down, and the liquid evaporates. The end result should be deep red in colour and be almost as thick as ketchup.
- During the last 30-40 minutes of cooking, pay close attention to the relish. As the sauce thickens, there’s more risk of the sauce burning. Stir more often and lower the heat a bit if you need to do so.
- While the sauce is cooking, prepare your canning 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.
- Once the relish is cooked, use a ladle to 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.
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