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How to Make Hot Relish, Dixie Relish or Fall Garden Relish - Easily! With Step-by-step Directions, Photos, Ingredients, Recipe and Costs

Yield: About 4 pint jars

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Making and canning your own hot relish, Dixie Relish or Fall Garden Relish (they are all very similar) is easy and safe. This is traditional recipe found in many canning books like the Ball Blue Book and the USDA's National center for Home food Preservation.


  • 1 quart chopped cabbage (about 1 small head)
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower (about 1 medium head) - Cauliflower is optional; the Ball Book Book recipes omits it.
  • 2 cups chopped green tomatoes (about 4 medium)
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups chopped sweet or hot green peppers (about 4 medium) - most people prefer sweet peppers, but if you like it really hot, go for it.
  • 1 cup chopped sweet or hot red peppers (about 2 medium)
  • 33/4 cups white vinegar (5%)
  • 3 tablespoons canning salt - if you are on a low salt diet, you can use potassium chloride
  • 23/4 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons celery seed
  • 3 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 11/2 teaspoons turmeric


  • 1 water bath canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.).  Note: we sell many sizes and types of canners for all types of stoves and needs - see canning supplies
  • Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars) 
  • Jar funnel ($5 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page)
  • 1 large pots; Nonstick ceramic coated pots for easy cleanup.
  • Large spoons and ladles,
  • Pint canning jars (Ball or Kerr jars can be found at grocery stores, like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, grocery stores, even online - about $13 per dozen 8-ounce jars, more for quilted design or larger jars, including the lids and rings).  Be sure to get wide mouth jars to fit the pickles in!  Pint size works best! 
  • Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar.  They may only be used once.
  • Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars.  They may be reused many times.
  •  See this page for pickling supplies, equipment, books, crocks and additives.

Directions - Step by Step

Step 1 - Wash  jars and lidsSanitizing canning jars in the dishwasher

The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle.  I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars.  If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.Sterilizing jars The c water bath processing includes time to sanitize the jars again, so this step is really just a pre-cleaning step, not the final assurance of sterilization.

Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!

Get the canner heating up

Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).


Start the water for the lids

Warming lids in steaming hot waterPut the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water for at least several minutes.  Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)

Canning jars
Ball canning lids Ball wide mouth canning lidsNeed lids, rings and replacement jars? 

Get them all here, delivered direct to your home,  at the best prices on the internet! 





Step 2 - Wash the vegetables

Just rinse the vegetables in cold water to remove any dirt or bugs!

Step 3 - Chop the vegetables

Chop the vegetables as finely as you like in a relish.  Typically 1/8 to 1/4 inch pieces.

Step 4 - Combine and chill

Sprinkle the chopped vegetables with the 3 tablespoons salt. Mix well then cover and let stand for 4 to 6 hours in the refrigerator.

Step 5 - Drain

Drain off the liquids and discard (the liquid). If you are on a low salt diet, rinse the veggies in a sieve with cold water and drain.

Step 6 - Combine the vinegar, sugar and spices and simmer

Combine the vinegar, sugar and spices in a pot and mix well. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Step 7 - Add veggies

Add vegetables; simmer another 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes of simmering, raise the heat to bring to a boil.

Step 8 - Fill jars

Once it reaches a boil, remove from the heat and start filling the jars.

Step 9 - Seal and process

Ladle the boiling hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner for 10 minutes.  If you are located more than 1,000 ft above sea level, see the table below: 

Recommended process time for Fall Garden Relish in a boiling-water canner.
  Process Time at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size 0 - 1,000 ft 1,001 - 6,000 ft Above 6,000 ft
Hot Pints 10 min 15 20

Step 10 - Cool and store



This document was adapted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Extension Foods Specialists.



This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2006.

Reviewed May 2009.



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