Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Relish

If you are looking for a recipe that will use up some zucchini this is it. This Sweet and Spicy Zucchini Relish is the perfect condiment on burgers and hot dogs, blended with tartar sauce, or even add a bit the next time you make a tuna or egg salad. This relish is a delicious taste of sunshine all year round!

This recipe is fairly easy to make, even easier if you have a food processor as chopping is the hardest part. If you’d like to make this recipe spicier, as I would if my kids weren’t wimps, you can replace the mustard powder with cayenne pepper. Other than that I try not to change canning recipes to much as you don’t want to change something that could lead to the food being less acidic which could lead to getting sick.


Grate the zucchini, red pepper, and onion. I do this using my food processor as it’s faster, but you can hand grate or finely dice. Just make sure the pieces are small, and uniform in size.

Place all the grated veggies in a large glass bowl then add pickling salt, stir to fully combine. Now allow the mixture to rest an hour before you proceed to the next step.

After the hour has passed the moisture will be drawn out of the shredded veggies. Drain well in a colander, do this at least twice, squeezing out as much liquid as possible.

Once you’ve drained all the liquid, add the shredded zucchini mixture to a pot then add the cider vinegar, sugar, and spices. Stir to combine then place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.

While waiting for the zucchini relish to come to a boil set up a water bath to sterilize your jam jars. If you need info on a water bath check out my Simple Strawberry Jam.

Make a slurry using the cornstarch and water, mix in well to combine so there won’t be clumps in the relish. Once the relish has reached a boil reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking. Add the cornstarch slurry we made to the zucchini relish stirring to combine and avoid clumps. Cook a little longer, stirring occasionally.

Remove the relish from the heat and fill the sterilized, and prepared jars. Leaving a 1/4” of headspace at the top of each jar. Once all the jars are filled clean the rim with a damp cloth to remove any drips. Cover jars with sterilized lids, then add the rings turning only loosely onto the top of each jar.

Place the jars back into the water bath and bring to a low boil. Process the jars for ten minutes, then remove from the water bath and allow to cool completely before fully tightening the ring.

The sealed jars will stay good about one year stored in low light conditions such as a cupboard. Refrigerate after opening to save any leftovers, once you open a jar if you keep it in the fridge it should still last several weeks.


  • 2.5 lbs. grated zucchini 
  • 2 onions grated
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 4 tbsp. pickling salt
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard powder (or cayenne pepper if you want extra spicy)
  • 2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp and 1 tsp. cornstarch


  1. Add the grated zucchini, pepper, and onion into a large glass bowl. Top with the pickling salt and stir to fully combine. Let this mixture sit one hour to remove the moisture.
  2. Use a colander to drain the zucchini mixture, do this twice squeezing out as much of the excess liquid as possible.
  3. Place the zucchini mixture into a large pot, add the sugar, cider vinegar, mustard powder, celery seed, hot pepper flakes, and turmeric then stir to fully incorporate all the ingredients.
  4. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the zucchini relish to a boil.
  5. While waiting for the mixture to reach a boil set up the water bath and sterilize jars and lids.
  6. Once the relish reaches a boil turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes. 
  7. While it is cooking add the cornstarch and water into a small bowl and mix to combine.
  8. After 15 minutes add the cornstarch slurry you made and stir to incorporate. Cook another five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. Remove the zucchini relish from the heat and fill the prepared and sterilized jam jars. Leave 1/4 ” of headspace at the top of each jar.
  10. Place a lid onto each jar, then lightly twist a ring onto each lidded jar. Do not tighten the ring all the way.
  11. Place the jars into the water bath and process for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before tightening the ring completely.

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