Monday, August 20, 2012

Cherry Pepper Relish a.k.a. Lenny's Hot Pepper Relish

I’ve aspired to knock-off Lenny’s Subs Hot Pepper Relish ever since I enjoyed my first #5 sub combo.  Of course, first, I had to plant some cherry pepper plants.   We planted in late April and I've been waiting all summer for these peppers to ripen.   This weekend, it was finally time!   I decided to give the following recipe a try after adapting it from one I found online.  The ingredients below can be doubled, tripled, etc. depending on your cherry pepper crop.   I only had enough to yield one half-pint jar.
Cherry Pepper Relish:
2 cups of diced red cherry peppers
1 heaping tablespoon of canning salt
1 cup of white vinegar
Several tablespoons of white sugar
1 half-pint jar, sterilized
Two cups of diced peppers requires about a dozen cherry peppers, depending on their size.  Discard the stems and cores of the peppers, keeping as many seeds as desired.    The sugar isn’t essential to the recipe (and isn't in the Lenny's version) but will temper the heat of the peppers, so add as little or as much (up to a half a cup) as you like.
  1. Combine the diced peppers and the salt in a small saucepan, combining well to distribute the salt.   Let the mixture sit for at least one hour.
  2.  Add vinegar and sugar (if using) and bring the mixture to a simmer.  
  3. Cook on low about 20 minutes, or until the relish is at your desired consistency.
  4. Cool and store in the fridge to use within a few weeks, or to preserve, ladle the relish into the hot jar, leaving ¼” headspace.
  5. Process the jar in a water bath canner for 10 minutes, allowing the jar to cool in the water bath for 5 minutes after the burner is turned off.   Let the jar sit on the counter for 24 hours and check for a seal. 
The Results:
We tried this relish on burgers tonight.   It had just the right amount of heat for me and was close enough to the Lenny's version that I'd have to taste them side by side to tell the difference..   I will definitely make this again when the rest of my cherry peppers ripen!