The Best Use for Zucchini (Other Than Bread)

As we tumble towards the end of the growing season, and your garden or produce box is overflowing with outsized zucchini, the best thing you can do for yourself is begin to think about making some relish. This one is packed with sweet, vinegary, spicy flavor, and is delicious piled onto just about any sandwich or roasted meat you’re serving up this summer. And don’t feel limited to zucchini. You can turn nearly any vegetable into relish.

A food processor makes quick work of breaking down the zucchini, bell peppers, and onion. But if you don’t have one, you can use your box grater (I actually find grating veggies to be quite meditative).

* New to canning? We’ve got a helpful beginner’s guide

End-of-Season Zucchini and Green Pepper Relish


  • 3 pounds

    zucchini (if it’s a truly giant one, remove the woody seeds)

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    green peppers, seeded

  • 1

    medium yellow onion, halved

  • 2 1/2 cups

    apple cider vinegar

  • 1 cup

    brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon

    mustard seeds

  • 1 tablespoon

    sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    red chili flakes

  • 1

    lemon, zested and juiced


  1. Arrange 4 empty regular mouth pint jars in a canning pot or a 12-quart stock pot fitted with a round cake cooling rack. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the jars. Place a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Wash the lids and rings in warm, soapy water and set aside.

  2. Fit a food processor with a grating blade and use it to break down the zucchini, green peppers, and onion. If you don’t have a food processor, pull out your trusty box grater and get to work.

  3. Combine the zucchini, pepper, and onion shreds with the vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, salt, and red chili flakes in a large pot and bring to a boil.

  4. Cook the relish at a boil until the liquid has reduced some, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir to combine.

  5. Remove relish from the heat and, using a wide-mouth funnel, funnel it into prepared jars, leaving approximately 1/2 inch headspace. After all the jars are full, use a wooden chopstick to work the air bubbles out of the jars.

  6. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and lower the filled jars into the canning pot and make sure that they are covered with only about an inch of water. If you need to remove some water from the pot, use a heatproof measuring cup. Once the pot has returned to a rolling boil, start your timer for 10 minutes. This proces sterilizes the jars and contents, and it forces the air out of the jars, creating a situation in which the jars will form a vacuum seal once out of the water.

  7. When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals by removing the rings, grasping the jar by the edge of the lid and gently lifting it an inch or two off the countertop. If the lid holds fast, the seal is good. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.

Weeknight Preserving is your beginner’s guide to preserving the best of the season even if you have a small kitchen or a couple hours on a weeknight. We asked Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars for a true beginner’s guide to preserving, from pickles to jams to freezing to fermenting. You (yes you!) can make a pickle or a jam to be proud of this summer. Share your preserving triumphs with us by tagging #thekitchn on Instagram.

Wondering what to do with the pickles you’ve made? Check out Marisa’s latest book, The Food in Jars Kitchen. It contains over 100 recipes to help you cook, bake, transform, and share your homemade preserves!

Follow Marisa on Facebook, Instagram, and by visiting her website Food inJars.

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