A few weeks ago I was talking to a coworker about my blog, and she asked about the orange thing in the middle of my banner photo. When I told her it was carrot relish, she wanted to read the post. Well, as it happens, I never wrote about it! It was one of my projects from early last year, before the blog. When piecing together my colorful banner photo, I had to find foods I had made and photographed, which if you can believe, wasn’t common for me back then. Oh, how times have changed.
Anyway, I knew I had to remake this relish, because it is delicious, flavorful, and bright. It’s a great alternative to pickle relish, and goes fabulously on burgers, hotdogs, and all manner of sandwiches. It’s also a little spicy, but not too much (you could certainly add more chili to amp up the heat). This weekend (Happy Memorial Day to all!) marked our first BBQ of the season, so it was the perfect time to bust out this great recipe.
I got the recipe from Salt Sugar Smoke, still one of my favorite books on food preservation. This time I didn’t toast coriander seeds and grind them, opting for pre-ground coriander. I recommend doing as the recipe suggests, the coriander flavor stood out more last year. Also, this time I subbed a jalapeño for “red chili” because I don’t know what she meant by “red chili.” Looking back, I think a dried red chili is probably a better fit. But I do like the jalapeño, so you do you and I’ll do me.
Recipe (makes about a pint)
8 carrots, cleaned, and shredded (or julienned)
1 ½ inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ cup apple juice
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
pinch or two of salt
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional) – I have never included this, but I think it would taste great, but would probably really change the flavor.
Mix everything except cilantro together in a pot. Stir and bring to a boil slowly over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then increase to medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the liquid to reduce and cook off. The carrots should be soft but not mushy, and appear candied from the liquid.
Remove from heat and pack into a warm sterilized jar. Store in the fridge for up to 3 months (if it lasts that long!). If you’re using cilantro, either add just before using or mix it in the jars with the relish. If you do the latter, you need to use it up within 5 days.