One of my dear friends introduced this basic recipe to me a few years back. She moved to the Ozarks from the great state of Texas and brought this recipe with her. From what I hear ... there is a nice restaurant down there that people rave about called the Blue Mesa Grill. They specialize in Southwestern cuisine. I'm not exactly sure how my friend got her hands on their Blue Mesa Jalapeno Relish recipe, but I'm telling you, it's absolutely scrumptious! You can eat it by itself, slather it on hamburgers or any sandwich you please. We eat it over meatloaf and roast too. If you sliced everything small enough, it would be great on crackers.
The fun thing about this recipe is that you can play around with it and modify it to your taste depending on how hot or mild your taste is. I will give you the original recipe as I received it, but also tell you how I tend to throw whatever I have in it. For the most part, I will use all kinds of different color sweet peppers from our garden, throw in some jalapeno and Anaheim peppers for some heat and maybe even a Habanero for good measure. The sweet syrup counters the heat and makes this stuff extremely addicting. If you don't like hot and spicy stuff, simply use sweet peppers. It is beautiful all jarred up and an extremely handy way to use up extra stuff from your garden.
The first few years I made this, I didn't have a food processor so I didn't make a whole big batch due to the work. Now I have a food processor, which makes it extremely easy to run through a huge batch quickly.
For the 10 pints pictured above, I filled my food processor with about 2 medium yellow onions and 8 medium sized carrots.
This batch, I sliced the carrots just like the onions. It seemed to take the carrots longer to cook down and get soft, so for the next batch, I shredded the carrots much smaller.
The pic is bit swirly, but you get the idea. For a large batch of 10 pints as pictured above, I double the syrup ingredients. So in this 8 qt. stockpot I put about 7 cups of sugar, 4 cups of apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbs of mustard seeds and 2 Tbs of dill seeds. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat and then add your peppers. I slice up enough peppers to almost fill my 8 qt. stockpot. This batch mainly consisted of red peppers with a few green ones since that was all I had ready. Last year I made a beautiful batch with red, green, yellow, orange and sweet chocolate peppers. It was eye popping for sure. Add as many colors as you want, you won't regret it!
WARNING: If you are like me, you'll want to add a variety of hot peppers too. BE CAREFUL! Use precaution when handling hot peppers, even the mildly hot ones like jalapenos can really burn your skin. Wear gloves at all times and do not touch your face or any skin period.
One year I got a bunch of what I thought were sweet banana peppers from a friend. After slicing them up for about 30 minutes, I realized they were NOT sweet banana peppers, but in fact, Anaheim peppers. My fingertips burned for a week and I never cut up peppers from that friend without gloves anymore. He obviously couldn't remember which plants were which! Moving on ........
Add the carrots and onions and cook down until soft about 25 to 30 minutes.
Jar up the goodness in sterilized jars. I leave 1/4" headspace and process for 15 minutes. If you look in your Ball Canning book, the instructions for canning peppers is to process in a pressure cooker for 35 minutes at 10 pounds, however, that recipe doesn't contain any sugar. In that same book, there is a recipe for Jalapeno Salsa which only requires a hot water bath for 15 minutes like this recipe. Since your canning process can be an extreme safety issue, please always double check processing methods given to you by anyone. If there is ever any doubt, check with the professional on my favorite canning blog Canning Homemade! She is the expert when it comes to safe processing methods.
Ok, as I promised, here is the original recipe as I received it:
BLUE MESA GRILL JALAPEÑO RELISH3/4 lb jalapeño peppers (seeds & membranes removed)1 med yellow onion - app. 8 oz4 medium carrots1 lg red bell pepper - stems & seeds removed3 & a half C sugar2 C apple cider vinegar1 Tbs yellow mustard seeds1 Tbs dill seedsClean & julienne cut all vegetablesCombine sugar & vinegar over medium heatAdd vegetables & bring to boilSimmer 20-25 min. till thickensAdd spices & simmer 30-40 minENJOY!!