We've had hot weather, too hot to do any canning if you don't have air conditioning (we don't). Finally we had a coolish day. Not only that, but it was grocery shopping day and there were baskets of cucumbers in the grocery store. Plus there was local celery and onions. I added all these items to my cart of groceries and when I got home, I started chopping.
I've chopped up a batch of relish by hand before. It makes a lovely chunky relish, which is pretty to see as the colours stay distinct and it is very tasty. It also takes for freaking ever! Since then I've generally just put the veggies in the food processor and pulsed it a few times to chop them up. They don't retain quite as much colour or texture but the savings of hours of standing there chopping is worth it. I will need to make 2 more batches, so the next batch I'll run through the food grinder to see if there is a noticeable difference.
The nice thing about relish is that it doesn't take hours of cooking and stirring, if you salt the veggies first. You layer picking salt with the ground veggies and let them sit in a colander for 2-4 hours. All the excess liquid drains off. You then rinse the veggies, to remove as much of the salt as possible and then squeeze them well to get the remaining liquid out. I like using my jelly bag for this as it works the best. Several layers of cheese cloth would work, pressing them against a sieve or even just squeezing handfuls until the liquid is out. Beware, it looks really awful at this time and a bit grey, and mushy.
After boiling up the vinegar, spice and sugar to make a syrup, you add the ground, drained veggies and cook for about 10 - 15 minutes until it is heated through and boiling. Add to hot canning jars, wipe the rims and add the lids. Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes, once it gets to a boil. I have to admit that homemade cucumber relish is so totally off the scale in the delicious factor than store bought relish. It was worth making it in a hot kitchen, just to make sure we had some for the rest of the summer.
When canning, check out the local regulations for times and specifications. Elevation, and local rules can cause processing time and procedure differences.
7 cups chopped, peeled and seeded cucumbers
2 cups diced celery
1 1/2 cups diced onion
3 cups diced mixed green and red peppers
1/2 cup picking salt
3 cups vinegar -
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 tbsn mustard seed
3 tbsn celery seed
1 tbsn picking spice
Sometimes I also add a cup of diced carrot because it adds a lot of colour. I don't really like cooked green pepper much, so sometimes I substitute red for the green.