Squash relish is a condiment that preserves chopped squash primarily by use of vinegar or pickling. Any type of yellow squash, zucchini, or a combination of the two are normally used to create squash relish. Squash relish can be used as a replacement for pickle relish in nearly any type of dish.
Since squash relish is a good way to use homegrown garden vegetables, this condiment is frequently homemade. Table salt or pickling salt, onions, vinegar, and bell peppers or pimentos are normally included. Dry mustard, sugar, and celery seed are also usual ingredients. Additional seasonings, such as garlic, black pepper, and turmeric, are often included as well. Corn starch is normally added as a thickening agent.
The fresh squash is usually chopped then soaked in salted water overnight. Some versions may soak chopped onions with the squash. Depending on the version, the soaking vegetables may be chilled or left at room temperature. Afterward, the squash is drained, rinsed, and added to a pot with the rest of the vegetables and seasonings. Then, the relish is simmered and stirred frequently.
After the relish has simmered for nearly half an hour, the cornstarch is added to thicken the mixture. Depending on the desired thickness, the amount of cornstarch used varies. The relish is allowed to continue to simmer until the proper thickness is reached, and then it is placed in jars and sealed. If the squash relish will be used quickly, pressure canning is not necessary. It is normally recommended to refrigerate the relish in this case, however.
If the squash relish will be kept for an extended period before use or given as a gift, it is best to can it. Normally, canning occurs in a specialized pressure canner which uses a boiling water bath. The jars are first sterilized, then the relish is placed into the jars, which are sealed and processed in the bath. When canned, squash relish does not need to be refrigerated until it is opened, and the relish will keep approximately as long as commercially made relishes.
Squash relish can be used in any dish that requires pickle relish and makes an excellent topping for hot dogs. Those who are more comfortable with the green color of pickle relish, normally prefer to use zucchini in their squash relish. Conversely, the yellow color of other squash choices, or the yellow and green contrast resulting from the combination of zucchini and yellow squash, often appeal to those looking to brighten up their usual dishes.