The point of any kind of pickling is to preserve produce when it’s fresh. Not only is this to cherish the beauty of seasonal produce, but it creates a better result with crisp, fresher-tasting vegetables in your relish.
Yes, there is a right and wrong cucumber to use for your relish. When doing any kind of pickling with cucumbers, always remember to choose pickling cucumbers (duh) and avoid what are known as "salad cucumbers." The skins on salad cucumbers have been found to be too thick to be pickled properly. How can you tell the difference? Pickling ones are those fat, warty looking ones that are just begging for a bath of vinegar.
Not only will this chunky relish take hot dogs to a new level, it’s also tasty spooned over grilled chicken, fish, and pork.
Believe it or not, little things like the type of salt you use matter when making relish. Coopey warns against using table salt, or any salt that is iodized. The iodine can affect the flavor and make the relish darker in color.
Along with picking fresh produce, there’s an extra step that Coopey recommends you take to keep your relish crisp. Before dicing up the cucumbers, slice them first and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Leave them in a colander for at least anin a cool, dry place and let the salt extract the moisture out of the cucumbers. Make sure to rinse the cucumber slices well before you start pickling.
If you like a little tang to your hot dog, this pickle relish adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Unlike regular pickle relish, which is made with yellow mustard, this relish's pickling liquid is bright and fresh.
If you’re adding a little extra color and flavor with a red bell pepper to your pickle relish, remember to remove the white ribs and seeds before you dice. Not only are they unappealing to look at, but they can make your relish taste bitter, too.
"Although you may be tempted to throw everything into a food processor, hand-dicing really does give you a better texture in the end," says Coopey. "[Hand-chopping is better, because] the food processor can masticate everything, creating an oddly airy, overly blended texture."
Chow-chow, sometimes referred to as piccalilli, is a traditional accompaniment to Southern-style baked beans, black-eyed peas, and greens, but is super on hot dogs, hamburgers, and sandwiches and with cold meats and sausages.
To get the best results with pickling and relish, choose a vinegar that has about a 5 percent acidity level. Coopey says to avoid wine vinegars and to stick with distilled white or cider vinegar. Their acidity levels are perfect for pickling, she tells us.
Because you’re working with vinegars, it’s important to always use non-reactive bowls and saucepans (such as ceramic, glass, stoneware, or plastic). The acidity in the vinegar will cause aluminum or copper bowls or saucepans to react and give the relish and metallic taste.
What's a hot dog without relish? This recipe makes it easy for you to create the summertime favorite's partner in crime at home.