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Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

Posted by cziga Zone 5 -Toronto (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 13, 12 at 21:37

Just a quick check ...

I found a recipe for Onion, Apple & Ale Relish from Jennifer MacKenzie's book, The Complete Book of Pickling.

Ingredients are as follows:
4 cups finely chopped onions
2 TB pickling salt
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 TB mustard seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups peeled, finely chopped tart soft apples
1 cup dark ale
4 cups peeled, finely chopped tart apples

In a non-reactive bowl, cover onions with salt and let them sit for two hours. Drain them, squeezing as much liquid out of them as you can, then let them sit in a colander until you need them next.

Place the brown sugar, mustard seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cider vinegar in a medium pot over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.

Increase heat to medium high and add the onions, soft apples and ale. Bring to a boil, stirring often, then reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, until the apples break down and mix is thickened, roughly ten minutes.

Stir in the tart apples, bring to a boil and simmer until the apples are soft but not broken down.

Process in half-pint jars or 4 oz jelly jars for 10 minutes.

My question is: is this a safe and approve recipe (and book/source)? There seems to be so little vinegar and so many onions and apples ... I thought I should check here first. It sounds quite tasty if it is a safe one to use :)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

Generally, yes. A lot of the liquid is exuded from the salted onions and they are then cooked with vinegar, ale and spices, which acidifies them.

However, in some respects this sounds more like a chutney than a relish. I'm guessing the consistency is more on the dry end, and I would be prepared with additional vinegar & ale to moisten a bit. I don't think the ingredients need to slosh around but they shouldn't be dry.

Others might disagree, but if I were inclined this direction, I'd make it and not worry about safety.


RE: Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

  • Posted by cziga Zone 5 -Toronto (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 14, 12 at 11:30

I guess it does sound more like a chutney than a relish... so the ale is an acidifier too, right? If it looks dry to me, I would add equal parts of vinegar and ale maybe, or even more ale than vinegar??

It is meant to be spooned over sausages, bbq, or in sandwiches etc so it can't be too runny.

I'm glad it would be considered a safe recipe.
What about the book in general? Is this a good source, or is it hit-or-miss? I haven't purchased this one yet, wanted to get opinions first (and test out a couple recipes) to see if it is worth buying.

RE: Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

No, not too runny, but just not dry like a paste. Chutneys do tend to be thick and that's OK.

Ales and beers tend to range in pH in the high 3's and low 4's (i.e. 4.0 or 4.1) so they're among the more acidic foods but not vinegar.

While I have no problems with this recipe individually I haven't seen the book and don't know anything about the author so can't speak to that. Maybe you can do a little research or check the forward and see if there's any pertinent information.

RE: Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

  • Posted by cziga Zone 5 -Toronto (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 15:30

Thank you so much for letting me know :) I appreciate it!

I don't own the book yet, I didn't want to buy it unless it is one of the sources that is generally considered safe, and once I try a couple of the recipes to see if we like them. I picked up some apples at the farmers market yesterday so I'll be trying this relish in the next day or two. Thank you again for your help!!

RE: Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

  • Posted by cziga Zone 5 -Toronto (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 17, 12 at 15:33

Actually I have one more question if you don't mind ... the recipe calls for tart apples. Is this for acidity reasons or can I use any type of apple that happens to be our favorite?

McIntosh (or Cortland) is one of our favorites for cooking down, it is apparently a sweet-tart apple, and I just wanted to see if that would make any difference that you know of?

RE: Quick check - is this an approved source/recipe?

The "tart" is just a flavor component. Use whatever variety you prefer but the end flavor will vary with the variety used.

Never heard of this particular book before. No prior discussions here on it that I can find. 2009 publication, no author credentials listed except the label "home economist". 2 prior books mentioned, one on dehydrating and one on back-packing and trail foods.

Approved source for canning? No, insufficient information available.


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