Easy recipe for homemade dill relish. Small batch canning recipe.
One of my favorite summer ‘secret ingredients’ is dill relish. It’s great for imparting a vinegary dill pickle flavor without having to do any chopping.
Potato salad, pasta salad, and tuna salad all taste better with a good dollop of dill relish. And I wouldn’t dream of making tartar sauce without it. So one year, when we had a bumper crop of cucumbers, I decided to make my own.
And I’ve never looked back.
Homemade Dill Relish is
- Flavorful with a nice dill and onion flavor
- Easy to Make
This recipe makes shelf-stable dill relish. You’ll need some familiarity with water bath canning to safely make the recipe. If you’ve never waterbath canned before, check out this tutorial on water bath canning.
What Does Homemade Dill Relish Taste Like?
This recipe tastes like the best dill pickle you’ve ever had with a little onion and just a touch of sweetness—not too much sweetness. This relish is a vinegary, dill relish and not a sweet relish.
Ingredients for Homemade Dill Relish
Cucumbers: You don’t need to using pickling cucumbers for relish. If you’ve got them, use them. But any firm, unbruised cucumber works. Discard any cucumbers that show signs of mold. Clean the cucumbers thoroughly to remove dirt before using them.
Canning Salt: To prevent the relish from having a cloudy appearance, use canning salt. If you can’t find canning salt, replace it with an equal amount of Kosher salt.
Turmeric Powder: A little turmeric powder brightens the color of dill relish. It doesn’t really add much flavor.
Yellow Onion: Adds flavor. Use a firm yellow onion.
Granulated Sugar: This is not a sweet relish. The small amount of sugar adds a mild sweetness.
Vinegar: Gives the relish a tart flavor and acts as a preservative. Use white or cider vinegar with 5% acidity. Never adjust the amount of vinegar in a canning recipe.
The Eight Basic Steps for Canning Dill Relish
Making dill relish is easy but it does take some time. Here are the basic steps.
- Process the cucumbers. A food processor or food mill is required to finely chop the cucumbers.
- Salt and soak for two hours. Mix the chopped cucumbers with canning salt, turmeric, and cold water and soak for about two hours. This step flavors the cucumbers and draws out excess water.
- Rinse the cucumbers. After soaking, rinse the cucumbers to remove excess salt. Don’t skip this step or the relish will end up too salty. If you don’t own a fine mesh strainer, line a colander with cheesecloth or several coffee filters.
- Cook the Relish. Once the excess salt is removed, mix the cucumbers with chopped onion, sugar, dill seed and vinegar. Bring the relish to a boil and then simmer for ten minutes.
- Heat and Fill the Jars. Ladle the hot relish into clean, hot canning jars. If the jars are cold, they can crack.
- Prep the Jars. As with all canning recipes, you must remove air bubbles, wipe the lid, and apply canning lids and bands to each jar.
- Process. This recipe requires 15 minutes of waterbath canning. After placing the jars into the simmering water, cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Star the timer only when the water reaches a boil.
- Check the Seals. Remove the jars from the water and allow to sit for 24 hours. After twenty-four hours, check the lids. If all the jars have sealed, wipe the jars and store them in a cool spot on the shelf. If any of the jars didn’t seal, store the jar(s) in the refrigerator and enjoy it immediately.
Homemade Dill Relish: The Steps Explained
Preparing the Cucumbers
Wash the Cucumbers. Wash cucumbers to remove any dirt. Then inspect them, discarding any cucumbers that have mold or questionable spots.
Trim Ends. Place the cucumber on a cutting board and trim off the ends. The blossom end is packed with enzymes that can make the relish soft. While you only need to remove the blossom end, it’s best to remove both ends for two reasons. First, it ensures you cut off the right end. And, second, you remove any hard pieces of stem.
Seed, if needed. If the cucumbers are small (or the seeds look small when you cut them in half) you don’t need to remove the seeds.
If you’re using very large cucumbers, cut them in half and remove seeds. To quickly remove seeds, run a small spoon down the center of the cucumber.
Don’t Peel the Cucumbers. To give the relish its characteristic color, don’t peel the cucumber before processing.
Chop Until Fine. Relish is chopped into small pieces before processing. Use a food processor or food and chop the cucumbers for this step.
Salting and Soaking
After chopping the cucumbers, it’s time to salt and soak them. A two-hour soak in cold water with a generous amount of salt and turmeric makes the relish flavorful, crunchy, and adds a great color.
Rinse the Relish
Since a generous amount of salt is used during the soaking step, the relish must be rinsed before cooking.
After soaking, drain the cucumbers in a fine mesh colander. (If you’re worried that your cucumbers are too fine for your stainer, line it with coffee filters.) Place the relish in the colander and rinse it with cold water.
Taste the mixture. If it tastes too salty, rinse for a few seconds longer.
Cook the Dill Relish
Place the rinsed cucumbers in a large pot. Add chopped onions, sugar, and dill seeds. Stir to combine. During this step, the kitchen smells like a pickle factory. I don’t mind this but, if you do, you might want to run a fan.
Fill the Jars
I think half-pint jars are the perfect size for dill relish. If you don’t have them on hand, use pint jars. The processing time remains the same.
Ladle the hot relish into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a ruler or headspace measuring tool to ensure you’ve filled the jars correctly.
Once you’ve filled the jars, remove air bubbles by running a bubbling tool around the sides of the jar. Wipe the lids with a clean damp cloth and apply the lids and bands until fingertip-tight.
Process Dill Relish
Using a jar lifter, carefully place the filled jars onto a rack in the pot of simmering water. The water should be about 180 degrees F.. The water should cover your jars by one to two inches.
Cover the pot and bring the water to a rolling boil. When the water reaches the boil, start your timer. Pints and half-pints of dill relish should be processed for 15 minutes.
When the processing time completes, turn off the heat and remove the lid from the pot. Allow the jars to cool in the pot for five minutes. Allowing them to cool in the pot for five minutes helps to prevent thermal shock.
Lift the jars out of the canner and place on a dry towel. Allow the jars to cool for 24 hours. Do not touch the lids and bands during this time.
How to Store Homemade Dill Relish
After 24 hours, remove the bands. Test the jars to make sure they are vacuum-sealed. To do this, press down on the center of the lid. It should not move up and down. Wipe down the jars in case any leaked during processing.
Label and date the jars before storing them in your pantry. You can write directly on the lid or use an adhesive label.
Dill Pickle Relish
- 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
- ¼ cup canning salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2 cups cold water
- 8 ounces yellow onions, peeled and stem end removed
- 2 ½ tablespoons (1 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon dill seed
- 2 cups white or cider vinegar, 5% acidity
Prepare Cucumbers. Wash cucumbers. Cut off ends. If cucumbers are large, cut in half and seed. Do not peel.
Chop Cucumbers. Finely chop cucumbers in a food processor or food mill.
Soak Cucumbers. Place chopped cucumbers in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt and turmeric over chopped cucumbers. Stir to combine. Pour water over cucumbers. Stir. Cover and chill the mixture for two hours.
Rinse Cucumbers. Place cucumbers in a fine mesh strainer. Drain. Rinse cucumbers with cold water. This removes the excess salt. Taste the mixture. If it tastes too salty, rinse again.
Mix and Cook Relish. Peel and finely chop onion. Place chopped cucumbers in a medium pot. Add onions, sugar, dill seeds, and vinegar. Stir.
Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Fill Jars. Ladle relish into hot jars. Leave ½-inch headspace. Using a chopstick or canning tool, remove air bubbles, Wipe rim of jars and place canning lid on jar. Screw on the canning ring; fingertip tight. Place jars into boiling water. When water returns to a boil, process jars for 15 minutes.
Cool Jars. Remove jars from the canner. Allow to sit for 24 hours. Wipe jars. Check lids for seal. Label and store for up to one year.
Basic Waterbath Canning Steps, Explained
Prepare Jars. Wash jars and inspect for any cracks. Place a rack or silicone liner in the bottom of a large pot. Place empty jars in the pot. Fill with water. (Water should cover the empty jars by 1-inch.)
Heat Water. Bring the water to a simmer. Heat jars for 10 minutes. This prevents the jars from cracking when you ladle hot relish into them.
Fill Jars. When relish is ready, lift hot jars from the canning pot. Fill as directed.
Heat Jars. Return jars to pot. Check that there is one to two inches of water covering the jars.
Process Jars. Cover pot. Increase heat and bring water to a boil. When the water reaches a boil, start your timer. Process (boil) the jars for 15 minutes. Maintain a rolling boil for the entire 15 minutes.
Cool Jars. After 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove lid from pot. Allow the jars to sit in the pot for 5 minutes. Then lift jars out of the canner and place on a dry towel. Do not remove band (ring) from jar.
As the jars cool, the lids might make a pinging sound.
Check Jars. After 24 hours, remove the band, wipe the jars, and check the seal. If a jar has not sealed, place it into the refrigerator and enjoy within a few days. Sealed jars may be placed on a shelf. (The best storage is between 50 and 70 degrees F.
Cucumber: If you can't find small pickling (Kirby) cucumbers, use traditional cucumbers. If the seeds are large, remove before chopping.