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DIY Pickle Relish

You can make your own healthy pickle relish without sugar, artificial color, or high-fructose corn syrup.

How To Make Pickle Relish

Photo: Stephanie Weaver

You should store your relish in a jar that is prepared by being boiled in water. The vinegar and salt in the recipe will help prevent molding.

Have you ever wanted to make your own pickle relish? Well now you can make some healthy relish without sugar, artificial color, or high-fructose corn syrup. It’s easy!

Warning: Once you start making your own condiments you’ll never go back to store-bought, which is a good thing: You’ll save money, keep those pesky chemicals and preservatives out of your food, and things will taste delicious!

How To Make Pickle Relish


  • 12-16 ounce pickling or Persian cucumbers
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves

Cooking Directions

  1. This is a two-day process.
  2. Add the salt to the water in a large clean jar or bowl and stir to dissolve. (You have now made “brine.” Congratulations!)
  3. Peel the cucumbers, take off the ends, and slice lengthwise.
  4. Use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds. (Compost the peels and the seeds.)
  5. Dice into small cubes. Add to the brine and stir. Let it sit overnight. (This can sit out on the counter.)
  6. Prepare your pickle jar by washing the jar and the lid inside and out. Bring enough water to a boil in a pot large enough to immerse the jar and the lid. Use tongs to gently place the room temperature jar and lid into the hot water (I turn it down to just under boiling). Immerse for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a kettle of water to boil.
  8. In another pan, mix the vinegar, agave syrup, and spices. Heat just to boiling.
  9. Put the drained cucumbers into the jar. Pour the pickling solution over them. Seal the jar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.
  10. Check after one week to see if you like them. These last about six months in the fridge. Make sure you keep the pickles down in the liquid as you use them up.
  11. A note about canning safety: The vinegar and salt should do a good job of preventing mold growth. Do not, however, leave these unrefrigerated. For that, you would need to do a proper water-bath canning job, which is not described here.
  12. (You can put the spices in a spice bag or tied in a cheesecloth. If you do this, simmer the mixture on low for 15-20 minutes to make sure the spices infuse the liquid. Remove the spice bag before pouring over the cucumbers. A benefit to this is that the relish will not pick up color from the spices.)
  13. Take the cucumbers and put them in a heat-proof colander. Pour the boiling water over them in the sink to rinse off the salt.
  14. Remove the jar and lid using tongs and hold upside down to let the water run out. Don’t touch inside the jar or lid if you can, to keep them clean.

Stephanie Weaver

Stephanie Weaver is a writer and wellness advocate who lives in San Diego. Her specialty is remaking recipes with healthy ingredients: low-sodium, gluten-free and migraine-friendly. She has a Master's in public health in nutrition education from the University of Illinois. Visit her blog Recipe Renovator.

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