Some of you might be thinking “Who is Harry, what does he have to do with David and what in the wide world is Sweet Pepper Relish”.
Let me fill you in, sound good?
Harry and David is a company specializing in gourmet relishes, chocolates, fancy gift baskets and the like. You can order their stuff online, and I believe they have many stores around the United States as well.
Several years ago my friend Julie introduced me to the wonderful Sweet Pepper Relish recipe I am sharing today. It’s a copy cat version of Harry and Davids gourmet relish. Wow, is it heavenly! I have been making it every fall since the time I first tasted it. To say it is fabulous is the understatement of the universe. It could best be described as a spicy/sweet salsa. We like to mix 1 C Sweet Pepper Relish with 1 package of cream cheese and serve it with tortilla chips. I have never met anyone in this entire universe that doesn’t love that combination. In fact, when I bring it to family functions people swarm it and sometimes elbow each other out-of-the-way to make sure they get a taste.
I’m not joking. It really is that good!
We also like using it as a condiment. MyHandsomeHusband puts it on his eggs in the morning. It’s great served with Pork Roast, or spread inside a soft shell taco. Did I mention it’s kind of like salsa, only sweeter? My friend Cindi mixes it in with ground beef when she’s making Meat Loaf and Hamburgers. There are really so many possibilities! I sometimes even give it away as a Christmas gift.
Now, it does take a bit of time to prepare as you will shortly see. But don’t get worried, it’s well worth the effort. Once you have chopped all of the vegetables, the rest of the time you just need to keep an eye on it while it simmers and then processes in a water bath canner. (You could totally paint your toenails while you are waiting for it to cook and process…just sayin’).
Let’s make it!
A reader has brought to my knowledge that her dear mother-in-law, Marilyn McCracken developed this recipe. Thank you Marilyn for such a wonderful recipe. You are a talented lady.
Copy Cat Harry and Davids Sweet Pepper Relish
Time: 45 minutes prep + 2 hours cooking and processing
Yield: 8-9 pints
Recipe created by Marilyn McCracken
***NOTE: This relish is best made with garden fresh tomatoes, tomatoes purchased at a farmers market or vine ripened tomatoes from the grocery store. ***
8 C tomatoes, chopped
4 C red peppers, chopped
3 C onions, chopped
4-5 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 1/2 C pickled jalapeno peppers, chopped (a 24 ounce jar works best)
1 1/2 C vinegar (from the can of pickled jalapeno)
1/4 C dried onion
1 T garlic powder
3 T salt
4 C sugar
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
CANNING SUPPLIES NEEDED:
8-9 pint jars
wide mouthed funnel
water bath canner
1. Wash your tomatoes, cut the stem portion out and then slice them in half.
2. Chop your tomatoes into small chunks.
I use this wonderful Progressive International GPC-4000 Fruit and Vegetable Chopper. My parents gave it to me for Christmas a few years back and it is amazing. I love this little contraption. I use it to chop all of the vegetables that go in this relish, it saves so much time! You can purchase one at Amazon, if you so choose…through the link above. I highly recommend it.
See how nicely it chops! Makes for easier cleanup as well.
Anyhow, chop 8 cups of tomatoes and toss them in a large pot.
3. Chop 4 cups of red peppers, and 3 cups onions. Add them to the pot.
4. Grab 4-5 fresh jalapenos.
Now, I want to be sure you know that the seeds in jalapeno peppers are hot, man. They will burn your hands if you touch them, truly they will. I can (sadly) speak from experience on that true fact. Grab some rubber gloves, okay? Be careful not to touch your face while you are working with the jalapeno as well.
Slice the top from the jalapeno then take your knife and scoop out the seeded portion from the middle. Now, if you like a lot of heat you can add some of the seeds. I usually don’t add too many.
Chop the jalapeno and add them to the pot.
5. Grab a (24 ounce) can of pickled jalapeno. I found this on the Mexican Food Aisle at my local Walmart.
Carefully open the can and pour the vinegar/liquid into a measuring cup. You will need 1 1/2 cups total, which is just about the amount of liquid in the can. If you don’t have quite enough you can add a bit of regular vinegar to be sure you have the full 1 1/2 cups needed. Pour it into the pot.
6. Carefully take the pickled jalapeno out of the can (remember your gloves, man). Slice the tops of and scoop out the seeds. Again, you can leave some of the seeds in if you like a lot of heat. Chop the pickled jalapeno and add them to the pot.
7. Add 1/4 dried onion, 1 tablespoon garlic powder and 3 tablespoons salt.
8. Place your pot on the stove top. Give everything a nice stir and bring it to a simmer over medium high heat. Let it cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
9. Add 4 cups of sugar…
and 2 (6 ounce) cans of tomato paste. Stir it all in, until the paste has had a chance to become incorporated.
10. Let it cook and simmer for about 1 hour, or until it has cooked down and become thick like salsa. You’ll want to remember to stir it occasionally.
11. Wash and dry your jars.
12. Place the wide-mouthed funnel on the top of your jar and pour the relish into it.
13. Take a damp paper towel and clean the top rim of each jar. You want to be sure they are free from the relish so you can get a nice seal.
14. Grab some new lids and place one on the top of each jar…
and then screw a lid on.
15. Pour warm water into your water bath canner. Place the jars full of Sweet Pepper Relish into the canner. Bring the water to a boil and place the lid on. Let the jars process (with the water boiling) for 25 minutes.
17. Store in a cool, dry place. Once a jar has been opened keep it in the refrigerator.
18. Mix 1 Cup Sweet Pepper Relish with 1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese and serve with tortilla chips.