This is a sweet one. Add the honey to taste, but don't adjust the vinegar: That's the preservative.
ClearJel is called for here. It's a modified food starch used by home canners. As the name suggests, it thickens without clouding (or clumping), and it doesn't break down when exposed to high temperatures. It is available through online food/spice purveyors. Cornstarch may be substituted, but it makes the mixture somewhat cloudy and the shelf life may be reduced to 9 months instead of 1 year.
Make Ahead: For best flavor, do not open for at least 6 weeks. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
Servings: 5 pints
- Raw kernels from 10 to 12 ears fresh corn (8 cups)
- 2 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups honey
- 3 1/4 cups cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
- 1 tablespoon pickling or fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon ClearJel (may substitute 2 tablespoons cornstarch; see headnote)
Place a rack or towel inside a deep pot. Fill with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 5 pint jars (upright), making sure there is at least an inch of water over them, and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, leaving the jars in the water until you are ready to use them.
Soak the jar lids and rings in a medium saucepan of hot, but not boiling, water, leaving them in the water until you are ready to use them.
Combine the corn, onions, green and red bell peppers, 1 cup of the honey, 3 cups of the cider vinegar, the celery seed, salt and cayenne pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the honey.
Stir together the ClearJel and the remaining 1/4 cup cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup until well incorporated. Stir into the corn mixture; reduce the heat to medium and boil gently until thickened, about 5 minutes. Taste and add up to 1/2 cup honey as needed. Turn off the heat.
Drain the jars, lids and rings, placing the jars on the countertop.
Ladle the hot relish into the hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims to clear away any food particles or brine. Use a clean chopstick to stir/remove any air bubbles between the food and the sides of the glass. Seal with the lids and rings, making sure the ring is gently tightened.
You can use the same pot used to sterilize the jars (with rack or towel). Bring the water to a boil over high heat. Use a jar lifter or tongs to transfer the jar to the water bath, making sure there is enough water to cover the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Process in a boiling-water bath for 15 minutes.
Use the jar lifter or tongs to transfer the jars to a countertop to cool. Let cool undisturbed for 12 hours. Check the seals; the lids should be slightly depressed at the center; this is a sign of a successful seal. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
Adapted from "The Pickled Pantry: From Apples to Zucchini, 150 Recipes for Pickles, Relishes, Chutneys and More," by Andrea Chesman (Storey, 2012).
Tested by Allyson Fitzgerald.
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