, Gloucester, MA


August 28, 2013

Canning, cucumber relish, and memories

This is an old recipe, tried and true. My mother made it every summer for 50 years. She inherited the recipe from her mother-in-law early in her marriage. I don’t know exactly where and when the recipe originated. I do know it has become very popular with all our families and friends, being given as a gift to many (my mother had a rule she lived by and drilled into us, “never go empty-handed when visiting”), and this homemade relish was a popular gift to bring when she would go to visit a friend for coffee or attend a family function.

Here are a few ways that our family enjoys it:

My brother will not have tuna salad without this relish mixed in.

I always put it in my deviled eggs.

My sister made it a permanent ingredient in her macaroni salad.

It is a perfect accompaniment to homemade baked beans on Saturday nights.

My mother is deceased now, but one of her grandsons has taken up the “summer tradition.” Steve said that he grew up on this relish and he missed it, so he had no choice but to make it himself. He also had a great memory of spending a month one summer on Cape Cod with his grandparents, and one day he and his grandmother made it together — well, he says he just watched Grammy and followed her instructions. He remembers turning that food chopper for hours. But he also remembers seeing the full jars cooling on a clean towel and what a satisfying feeling it was.

A food processor now makes it easier and quicker.

New England Cucumber Relish


1 quart large cucumbers (remove seeds, do not peel)

1 small onion

1 red pepper (finely chopped; the red gives it a pretty color, but if you want to use up your green peppers, the flavor will be the same)

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