Homemade relishes that add zest to everyday meals

By , Special to The Christian Science Monitor

THE dictionary offers such tantalizing descriptions for the word relish that there is little for pickle enthusiasts to add: ``appetizing flavor, pleasing taste, pleasure, enjoyment, zest.'' So many foods are enhanced by these agreeably pungent accompaniments and appetite stimulators that we can truly understand the phrase, ``to eat with relish.''

Before the days of refrigeration, pickles and relishes were served as a substitute for salad. Our colonial ancestors were hearty eaters at at their midday meal. In addition to soup, meat, game, or fish and vegetables, they always served a relish or two.

Americans still like their pickles. The United States eats more per capita than any other people in the world. How dull our favorite hamburgers, hot dogs, fish sandwiches, and baked beans would be without an assortment of pickle relishes, as well as those made from fruits and berries that are so tasty with roast pork, baked ham, and turkey. Harvest Relish 2 quarts chopped green tomatoes 1 quart chopped ripe tomatoes 3 red sweet peppers, seeded and diced 3 green peppers, seeded and diced 3 stalks celery, chopped 3 large onions, chopped 1 head cabbage, chopped 1 large cucumber, chopped 1/2 cup salt 6 cups vinegar 4 cups sugar 1 teaspoon pepper 1 teaspoon dry mustard

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Mix vegetables with salt. Let stand overnight. Drain well. Stir in vinegar, sugar, pepper, and mustard. Cook for about 30 minutes. Pack in hot sterilized jars. Seal. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Corn Relish 2 cups cooked corn kernels or canned corn, drained 1 cup chopped celery 1 small onion, minced 1 teaspoon prepared mustard 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 2 tablespoons vinegar

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, sealing all edges.

Refrigerate for 6 hours before serving. Delicious with fish. Serves 4 to 6. Old-Fashioned Raisin Relish 2 cups dark seedless raisins 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 onion, minced 21/2 tablespoons tomato ketchup 3 tablespoons cider vinegar 1 teaspoon sugar

Combine all ingredients in mixing bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, making sure edges are sealed. Refrigerate for 6 hours. Delicious with roast chicken, turkey, ham. Serves 4 to 6. Pennsylvania Sauerkraut Relish 1 pound sauerkraut 1/2 cup granulated brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped raw carrot Freshly ground pepper 1 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and stir well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, sealing all edges, and refrigerate for 24 hours. Serve with meat. Serves 6 to 8.

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