A traditional relish with a southern twist! Prepared with corn, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos, Southern Corn Relish is a condiment that demands respect and attention!
If you’ve been reading Lord Byron’s Kitchen for some time now, you’ll know how much I love a good canning recipe. Also, just in case you didn’t know already, I cannot live without sauces and condiments. Seriously, I can make an entire meal on canned relish, pickles, etc.
A few years ago, I published a recipe for Sweet Corn Relish. It tastes just like the Bick’s brand, which was always in my mom’s fridge. I used to eat that stuff by the spoonful. This time around, I wanted to make something a little different. After all, life is too short to make the same canned corn relish ever summer, right?
This Southern Corn Relish recipe comes together quite easily. There’s no fancy skill need to make this dish. All you need is a little patience and a good, sharp knife. There’s a lot of chopping. I’ll walk you through the steps to get the best results.
HOW TO PREP THE TOMATOES
Whenever I can something with tomatoes, I prefer to use roma tomatoes. Roma tomatoes have more “meat” and less pulp then other types of tomatoes. Save the heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes for sandwiches! Roma tomatoes are sometimes called plum tomatoes.
You will need to remove the skin. Have you ever tried to peel a tomato? It’s not and easy thing to do in their natural form – especially if you need to peel three pounds of them. There is an easy way to do it though.
To start, wash the tomatoes well. Use sharp paring knife to cut an X in the bottom of each tomato. Don’t cut too deeply. You basically just want to cut through the skin. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and cover with hot, boiled water straight from the kettle.
Wait one minute and fish the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon. Allow them to rest for a few minutes and you can peel the skin off quite easily. Remove the core and discard. Chop the tomatoes and add to the pot.
BELL PEPPERS, JALAPENOS, AND ONIONS
It’s important to keep in mind that the peppers and jalapenos will cook down a little bit, but not too much. So, it is recommended to take the time to chop them properly. I like to cut the peppers into a small dice. I remove the stem, membrane, and seeds.
For the jalapenos, the same rules apply. Dice them very finely. Remove and discard the seeds if you wish. I did not add the seeds to mine, because the seeds are the spicy/hot part of the jalapeno. If I were making Southern Corn Relish for myself, I’d make it spicy. But, not everyone likes spicy food.
The onions are easy. Peel them and chop them finely. I like to see little bits of onion floating around in the relish. In fact, I want all of the veggies to be noticeable. Otherwise, I’d toss them all into a food processor and take the easy way out!
CANNING – DO NOT TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS
I’m a huge fan of the water bath canning method. It’s so much easier than using a pressure canner. Generally speaking, water bath canning should be used for recipes that are highly acidic or sweet. Some canning experts state that to eliminate the risk of getting sick from improperly processed jars, it’s best to use a pressure canner.
Until just recently, I’ve only ever used water bath canning. With extra time on my hands in 2020, which means more time for canning, I have invested in a pressure canner. I will get to that in a future post. This particular recipe was processed in a water bath canner.
Southern Corn Relish certainly has enough acid and sugar to warrant safe canning results. Yes, we have a bit of sugar, but the tomatoes and vinegar will certainly provide more than enough acid.
Whether you decide to use the water bath canning method or the pressure canning method, do not take any shortcuts. Every step is important and will help to not only ensure a longer shelf life, but will also prevent you from getting sick.
Canning food takes patience, but the results are worth the effort. I love having a pantry full of canned goods that will last up to twelve months. In times like we are living in now, it’s always good to have a supply of food on hand that do not require refrigeration.
Once you get a taste of this corn relish, you’ll understand why I love it so much. It’s delicious on cold sliced roast beef! Top your burgers and hot dogs with this and nothing else! Try mixing a jar with cooled, cooked pasta for a great pasta salad too!
Southern Corn Relish
- 8 500 ml mason jars with screw bands and new, unused sealing discs.
- Water Bath Canner with Jar Rack
- Jar Wrench/Lifter
- Canning Funnel
- Non-metallic Bubble Remover
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- 3 pounds roma tomatoes
- 10 cups frozen corn
- 2 large green bell peppers, seeds discarded, finely diced
- 2 large red bell peppers, seeds discarded, finely chopped
- 2 large white onions, finely diced
- 6 large jalapeno peppers, finely diced (remove and discard seeds for non-spicy option)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon pickling salt
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
To Prepare Mason Jars:
- Wash mason jars and screw lids in soapy water and rinse soap off well under running hot water. Place clean jars on a baking sheet and place in oven preheated to 200 degrees. Set screw bands aside. Next, boil a kettle of water and pour into a clean glass bowl. Carefully submerge the sealing discs in the bowl of hot water. Set aside.
To Prepare Recipe:
- Wash the tomatoes well and just slightly score the bottom of each tomato making an X with your knife. Don't cut too deep – the point is to just slice the skin.place in a bowl. Cover with hot, boiled water. Allow to rest for one minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tomatoes and let rest for a minute or two to cool. You will notice that the bottom of each tomato has opened up. You can now use your finger to peel the skin off, placing the peeled tomato into a clean bowl. Once done, chop the tomatoes, removing and discarding the core.
- Place the chopped tomatoes and all of the other ingredients into a large sauce pan or pot. Bring to a full boil over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring often.
- In the meantime, fill your water bath canner to the halfway mark with water and add the jar rack. Bring to a full boil.
- Ladle the relish into prepared mason jars using a funnel to prevent the mixture from touching the rim of the jars.
- Use the non-metallic bubble remover to remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe down the rim of each jar with a damp paper towel to ensure none of the relish has come in contact with the rim.
- Carefully remove the sealing discs from the hot water with a magnetic lid lifter. Position the sealing disc directly onto the lid of the jars. Do not touch the underside of the lid.
- Screw on the screw bands until firm – do not apply pressure! Just use your fingertips to tighten the screw bands.
- Using the jar lifter, place the jars into the water bath canner with the boiling water. Do not place the lid on the canner.
- Boil for 20 minutes. Carefully remove each jar from the canner using the jar lifter. Try not to tilt the jars. Place jars onto a wire cooling rack that has been covered with a clean kitchen towel.
- Leave the jars to cool for a minimum of 12 hours. Once cooled, wipe the jars of any residue that might have been transferred to the outside of the jar during the boiling process. Label the jars and store in a dark, cool cabinet for up to one year.