Corn Relish – Sweet Corn Spectacular!

My third cookbook – Sweet Corn Spectacular – came out yesterday, and I’m so excited: it marks a couple firsts for me!

It was my first “published through a regular publisher” book, so that was an adventure for Mega Type A, self-publisher-to-the-bone me. I’m happy to report that Minnesota Historical Society Press has been nothing but awesome so deal with, and never made me feel smothered, hindered, or compromised in any way. Those have always been some of my biggest aversions to traditional publishing, so it was all a happy surprise!

It’s also my first cookbook that is NOT dessert oriented!

After my recent reality show adventure, I’ve been more aware than ever that there is this weird “if you bake, you probably don’t know how to cook” stigma. I’ve always cooked like I bake – and vice versa – so that’s always been a bizarre mindset to me. How nice that I get to follow it up with a book that is predominantly savory in nature! (Yes, there is a whole chapter dedicated to desserts, because… really.)

Yes, in Sweet Corn Spectacular, I was able to run free and create recipes using whatever techniques I felt like. There’s some cooking, roasting, grilling… a bit of baking, some brewing AND some canning! Yay, diversity!

Today I’m sharing the recipe that may just end up being the most popular in the whole book, and it’s a canning recipe: Corn Relish.

I left a big jar of this relish at a friend’s house as a welcome home gift. It didn’t take long for her to message me a thank-you, saying, “It’s delicious.” When I let her know that we had plenty in case she ever wanted more, she surprised me with her follow up:

“I will take as much of this corn business as you’re willing to give me. I want to pour it in a kiddie pool and lounge around in it.”

I think she liked it. Five quarts may not be enough: double the recipe and share the joy – it makes a great gift, or contribution to a backyard BBQ party. It’s also a great way to stretch the life of summer’s fresh produce… and my husband puts this on EVERYTHING. In his words, this relish “adds a delicious sweet crunch to ANYTHING”.


Corn Relish, from “Sweet Corn Spectacular”
Makes about 5 quarts

24 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
4 large green bell peppers, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
2–3 large tomatoes, chopped
4–5 ribs celery, chopped
2 jalapeños, chopped, ribs and seeds removed if desired
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 tablespoon celery seed
2 teaspoons dry mustard
5 cups vinegar

Use a sharp knife to remove kernels from the cobs, place kernels in a large pot. Add peppers, onions, tomatoes, celery, and jalapeños.

In a medium bowl, mix together sugar, salt, turmeric, celery seed, and dry mustard. Add mixture to the pot, and stir well before adding the vinegar.

Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes.

Ladle into hot, sterilized canning jars. Affix sterilized lids and rims, and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. (Add 5 minutes for altitudes above 1,000 feet; add 10 minutes for altitudes over 6,000 feet.) Allow to cool overnight.

Check all lids for a proper seal: they should have sucked down into a vacuum seal as the jars cooled. Store properly sealed jars for later use; refrigerate any that did not seal for use in the coming weeks.