Canning 101 – How To Make Zucchini Relish

If you have never given zucchini relish a try, I want to encourage you to make a batch this summer.  I’ve been using this zucchini relish recipe for years and the funny thing is, you can’t even tell you’re eating zucchini.   It really does taste like regular relish.

We like to use it on hot dogs, hamburger and mixed in with potato salad.  It’s delicious!  Try it, you’ll see.  This recipe yields {4} 1/2 pint jars


2 cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped onion {I used Walla Walla Sweets}
1 cup chopped sweet peppers {I used green peppers}
2 tablespoons salt
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed


Place the chopped zucchini, onions peppers and salt in a large bowl and cover with cold water and let it sit for 2 hours.  Drain liquid, rinse throughly and drain again.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.  Add the zucchini mixture, reduce heat to simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Pack hot relish mixture into 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Remove air bubbles.  Adjust 2 piece caps, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove jars, place on a towel in a draft free area and let cool over night.  Check seals after 24 hours.

If you are looking for a canner, I used the Granite Ware 11-1/2 Quart Covered Preserving Canner with Rack to can my zucchini relish. If you need a tool kit, I use one similar to this one.

Looking  for a great canning book?  I recommend The Joy of Pickling: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market By Linda Ziedrich.  Amazon currently has it on sale for only $11.41


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  1. Jenn says

    Yumm! Did you use green bell peppers? Or could I use some of the fresno chili’s I have growing in the garden? Thank you!

  2. Jamie says

    I’m going to give this a try tomorrow. I’ve got Zucchini growing like crazy. Thanks for all the great canning recipes!

  3. says

    Mavis, my wife and I tried out your Zucchini relish recipe and it was great. We made 5 pints for a start, and after eating some of it today, we plan to make lots more. I posted a blog entry about it and referred readers to your blog. By the way, I follow you daily and really enjoy your blog. My weight goal this year (only 200#) is much more modest than yours but I’m at 126 lbs so far and 200 should be doable.

  4. says

    Mavis – I made this recipe about a month and a half ago and we finally broke out the zucc relish and put it on top of our chili dogs….THANK YOU! This stuff is fantastic! :)

    I’m linking over to your blog in my post about it tomorrow. Thanks again!

  5. Ellen says

    have you ever made this with frozen zucchini? Since the zucc’s seem to all come on at the same time I was thinking it might be doable to chop and freeze then make the relish later. What do you think?

  6. Sophie says

    Mavis – I LOVE your blog and am a “Mavis Junkie”….I made several batches of this zucchini relish last weekend with zucchini from a friend’s garden (I didn’t grow zucchini this year) and it was fantastic! Although, I would recommend that when “chopping” the ingredients, that a food chopper really helped me to get a smaller sized relish and it was more evenly distributed in the jars than the batch I made with larger pieces. I’m going to make more this weekend and give several back to the neighbor who donated his zucchini to my canning!

  7. Lori says

    Does this recipe ‘set’ and thicken up like a relish, or does it remain a ‘wetter’ relish? Also, I like mine pretty thick, so I added a touch of a corn starch slurry to which nothing happened when I added it. Would that destroy my whole batch, or do you think it would still turn out? Im a beginner in canning and am learning as I go!
    Love your site!

    • Mavis Butterfield says

      I guess you would say this recipe is a “wetter” relish. I have never added cornstarch so I can’t answer that. Sorry.

  8. Stacy says

    So 1 c vinegar, sugar and seeds is the only thing that you bring to a boil? (Looks like so much more liquid to me)
    When you put it in the canner, is the water covering above the jars?
    Can I sterilize my jars in the canning water while making the relish, then can use the same water for the final process?
    If not, how do you sterilize your jars?

    Thanks for your help, new to canning… :)

    • Mike says

      Yep, just the liquid. You don’t want the veggies near any heat except during the processing.

      You can sterilize your jars in the dishwasher. The hot rinse is usually enough.

  9. janet says

    Hi, We love this relish. I made it last year and have made several batches this summer. Thanks Mavis, another delicious recipe!

  10. lesa says

    Remember to wipe the rim b4 putting on HOT lid.. tighten hand tight..
    also i use turmeric .. gives it a beautiful color & it’s so good for you..

  11. Deborah says

    I want to make some of this! Just have to grow some Zukes! Next spring! They are on my list to grow! yum!

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