My son drove down and spent the day with me on Mother's Day, we had a wonderful visit, we enjoyed wonderful conversation, took him to see the new house we are in the process of buying, and he took me out to a delicious dinner at a local "cook at your table" Japanese place. He also brought me a gift of a cute tote bag filled with Sugared Vanilla Bubble Bath, lotion, a bath pouf and other pampering products (I'm pretty sure his sweet little wife picked it out, but nevertheless, I love the gift and the givers).
How does bubble bath have anything to do with canning Vidalia onion relish? I'm glad you asked...
I became the proud owner of a 25 pound bag of Vidalia onions recently... purchased them from a local Ruritan Club who hold this fundraiser every spring. The weekend became dedicated to making relish, among other yummy onion-ness (including an experiment in making homemade blooming onions... turned out pretty good I must say)
Here's how I made Vidalia Relish using a recipe with apple cider vinegar...
First I peeled and chopped 10 pounds of onions. This came out to one and a half gallons of chopped onion, or 24 cups.
Thank God (and my dear, dear husband) I have a KitchenAid Mixer and a food chopper attachment to chop all those onions! And even with the mechanical assistance, the onion odor filled our house and brought tears to my eyes in the kitchen, and to my sweet husband's eyes in the living room... I was beginning to get concerned about our two parakeets! Can a parakeet be killed by noxious onion fumes? DH solved the worst of the problem by opening the front and the back doors to allow air flow and we were spared watery eyes.
After chopping the millions and millions of onions (in reality maybe 20? exaggeration runs in my family!) I continued with my recipe...
1 red pepper (I used 2... hey, it's my recipe, I wanted more red in my relish, OK!)
1/4 cup salt (the kind for canning and pickling, not table salt, it's more pure, doesn't contain additives, like iodine and aluminum that might cause discoloration or sediment in the final product)
I layered in a large bowl (huge actually) onions, peppers, salt until I had filled the bowl. This mixture was left to sit for 30 minutes or so while I prepared the liquid for the relish "syrup."
In a large stock pot I combined
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory, it is also said to be good for so many things in the body, from preventing cancer to aiding memory, to regulating blood pressure, plus it adds a beautiful, natural yellow color and delicious flavor to the relish)
4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon Fruit Fresh
3 teaspoons pickling spice (I added more like 2 Tablespoons, again, this is my relish, I wanted more pickly-ness!)
Side note about the pickling spice... it can be bought pre-mixed at the grocery store, I chose to mix up my own to have on hand for other pickling projects. I used mustard seeds, whole allspice, coriander seeds, whole cloves, ground ginger, dried red pepper flakes, bay leaf, and cinnamon sticks. I tied the pickling spice into a square of cheesecloth and dropped the sachet into the stockpot.
I brought the mixture to a boil, then lowered the temperature to a simmer and simmered the liquid for 30 minutes.
I then drained the onion/pepper/salt mixture using a colander and discarded the liquid and added the onion mixture to the stockpot, mixing all the ingredients well. I brought it back to a boil, then simmered again for another 30 minutes, stirring often. I removed and discarded the spice bag.
Then began filling my pint canning jars that had previously been washed, sterilized and kept hot until ready to use. I left about a half inch of headspace.
I wiped the rim of each jar with a damp cloth...
Then added the lids and rings that had been simmering and kept hot until I was ready for them.
I processed the jars of relish in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Then removed them using my jar lifter and set them on the counter on a folded dish towel to cool...
And to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar.
Now, back to that bubble bath... after smelling onions all afternoon, my eyes streaming, and sweating over a hot stove... I decided to relax in a delicious smelling Sugared Vanilla Bubble Bath, thanks to my son and daughter-in-law's thoughtfulness.
Ahhh!!! Pure bliss!!!
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