Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Maxine's Marvelous Relish


This recipe holds a lot of sweet memories of my mom and my stepfather, Cam, who passed away several years ago. He was a kind and wonderful man, and a passionate math teacher. One year they made dozens of jars of this relish as Christmas gifts, and it is one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted. It is particularly tasty with pork chops. It's one of those recipes that is more than the sum of its parts.

The recipe comes from Cam's mother, Maxine, who was a truly marvelous wild woman. My mom dated Cam in high school and college, but they broke up because as she puts it, "he joined a fraternity and turned into a jerk." Immediately thereafter, my mom transferred to the University of Hawaii and spent the next semester having tons of fun hanging out at Maxine's place in Waikiki! My mom and Cam finally got back together many years later and were marvelously happy together.

Late summer is the only time you can find this combination of fruits and vegetables all at once. There are still tons of peaches, peppers, and tomatoes at the market, and early apples and Bartlett pears are just arriving.

5 peaches
5 pears
5 tomatoes
5 onions
2 red peppers
3 green peppers
6 C. sugar
1 quart vinegar
1 T. ground allspice
1 T. mustard seeds

Chop all fruits and vegetables into about 1/2-inch dice. Bring to a boil in a large pot with sugar and vinegar. Simmer 45 minutes. Add allspice and mustard, and simmer another 45 minutes. Seal in sterilized pint or half-pint jars with hot 2-piece lids, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes (adding 10 more minutes at 5000ft, 15 more at 7000ft). Makes about 12 pints.
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