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Simply Cook Something Moderately Good

In all times and especially the year of Covid 19, I feel more alive by cooking things and handling things, and making something.  At my most content, I’m someone doing something.

Edward Espe Brown writes in The Most Important Point, “I have no Masterpieces, I’m just cooking.  I simply cook something moderately good, and have a good time and enjoy eating it.  And  invite friends over, and  enjoy each other’s company.”

Summer Relish


Pickles belong in the “just cooking” category, and when is a jar of pickle relish considered a masterpiece?

So relax and enjoy the process, the color, the vinegary- pickle smell in the kitchen, and the satisfaction of 4 sparkling jars of  tangy/sweet  pickle relish..

Chicken Sandwich


The Summer Relish I’m suggesting  perks up the flavor and adds crunch to a basic chicken sandwich, a vegetarian  sandwich (see Black Bean & Spicy Beer Mustard Burgers at  September 17, 2018 recipe)  any meat on the grill, a braised chuck roast, a roasted turkey, a pork chop, and hot  dog on a stick, a grilled cheese sandwich!

It’s August and cucumbers, cool and elite  rule in the garden.  Let’s  make Summer Relish, and enjoy eating it and  sharing with friends.

Farmer’s Market growers are showing me their cucumbers in various sizes and varieties and in good supply.  I scoop them up by the sackfuls and make a crunchy,  colorful and delicious summer pickle relish.  Grab all  varieties and sizes of cucumbers, and pick up several pounds of onions  and a red pepper too.


Cook something and eat it!  The cucumbers are peaking now.





Now for me the fun begins because pickling and canning engage my senses and my thoughts, and lift the angst that Covid 19 inflicts.   I like

  • the smell of vinegar and sugar steaming in the kitchen

  •  to  chop and dice and shred

  • to brine the cucumbers and onions overnight

  •  to wring the brine out of the cucumber and onion mixture

  •  to cook the shredded cucumbers and onions in a sweet vinegar, sugar, mustard syrup

  • to  pack the jars.

  • to screw the bands on tight

  • to print a label giving credit to myself for the beautiful and delicious pickle relish

Please see and make the recipe below:  The Summer Pickle Relish recipe works easily and the equipment requirements are minimal.


Summer Pickle Relish

Make a 24 hour cucumber relish that enhances the flavor of a Bean Burger to a Prime Rib. Easy to make and rewarding to the cook
Course condiment
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 pints


  • 4 16 oz. canning jars with lids and bands
  • canning salt for the brine because canning salt is free of impurities

What You'll Need:

  • 6 large cucumbers finely chopped or shredded
  • ¼ cup canning salt canning salt works best because it carries no other minerals or impurities that may discolor the relish
  • 4 cups yellow or white onions chopped finely or shredded
  • 1 large sweet red pepper chopped finely
  • 2 ½ cups white vinegar
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 Tb. Spicy Beer Mustard Spicy Beer Mustard is an Important Ingredient because Buzz Savories mustards mix Turmeric and Allspice and Mustard Seeds into the mustard - each an ingredient that flavors the Summer Relish
  • 1 tsp., celery seed

How To Prepare:

Prepping the Cucumbers and Onions

  • peel the cucumbers, leaving intermittent strips of green peel on the cucumber for added color and cut into 3 inch chunks
  • peel the onion and cut into 3 inch chunks
  • Shred the cucumber and onion with a manual grater on the coarse side or shred it in your Cuisinart. I pulse maybe 4 tines or until every chunk is just shredded, no more.
  • Place in a nonreactive bowl - glass, stainless steel
  • Pour 1/4 cup canning salt over the onion/cucumber mixture, mix well and cover with a clean tea towel
  • Leave overnight or for 4 hours until cucumber and onions release their juices, and the mixture looks wet and soupy

Wring the Juice out of the Shredded Cucumbers and Onions

  • Place a cotton towel or double cheese cloth over a 4 qt. bowl
  • Pour the cucumber/onion mixture into the towel or cheese cloth
  • Pick up the corners of the tea towel and wind them together over your hand, twisting and squeezing. As the towel twists, juices and brine are squeezed out of the cucumber/onion mixture. Work it until the vegetables are just moist but not dripping with juice.
    Toss the leftover brine.

Making the Pickle Solution

  • In a non-reactive sauce pan or enamel roaster, mix the vinegar, sugar, mustard, celery seed
  • Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar dissolves

Making the Pickle Relish

  • Finely dice the red pepper
  • Combine the onion/cucumber mixture and the red pepper into the simmering pickle solution
  • Cook over medium heat until the onion turns transparent and all ingredients are soft, about 20 minutes.
  • Separate the lids and bands from the pint jars, and wash the jars in a dishwasher or submerge the jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Either process sterilizes the jars and heats them - hot to the touch.

Canning the Relish

  • Organize the hot jars and the kettle of hot pickle relish on a flat surface, placing the jars on a tray or cookie sheet to collect the spills
  • Ladle the pickle relish into the jars leaving 1/2 inch space between the relish and the top of the jar
  • Wipe the top rim of the jars with a damp cloth to clean the surface and top the jar with a lid and seal each jar with the band. Twisting it tight.
  • Cool on a wire rack or folded tea towel
  • Store in a cupboard or pantry shelf. Shelf life, 1 year.

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Talk with me on the Buzz Savories site.  Tell me how Covid19 is changing your at home life and any questions and comments on cooking and social-distance-entertaining with friends.