Cucumber & Onion Relish

I was hoping for a ‘normal’ summer in the garden, but alas, it was not to be.  As with last year, the excessive amount of rain and unseasonally cool temperatures are busy ruining my crop of tomatoes, courgettes and squashes.  However, I am left with a glut of french beans (which I’ve yet to resolve) and cucumbers.  I say a glut – I actually have 6.  But they are more than I can cope with for one weekend, so I fall back on one of my culinary cohorts, the pickle.  I haven’t used this for a few years, when I was a regular producer of “James’s Famous Green Tomato Chutney”, (last seen in a special edition ‘Chilli’ version…), but now I need adapt this for cucumbers.

21 Sept:– Right – I’ve just cracked open the first jar and can honestly say that this is great.  Much more of a ‘relish’ than a pickle in my mind (hence the recipe name change, if you were wondering).  Slightly sweet with a great crunch.  Definitely one to try with burgers & sausages…

Prep & Cooking Time – approx 4 hours. Ready to consume in 4 weeks

Makes 3-4 jars




  • 3-4 Cucumbers
  • 3 Large Onions
  • 600 ml Cider Vinegar
  • 450g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Black Mustard Seeds
  • Salt



  • Halve cucumbers lengthwise and slice very thinly.  I used a 2mm blade on my food processor.  Repeat with onions
  • With your hands, mix onions and cucumber slices together with a couple of teaspoons of salt on a large colander.  Place a bowl inside the colander, weigh down (with scale weights, bag of flour, jar or vinegar, or whatever…) and leave on the draining board for 2-3 hours to leach away.
  • In a large pan add all remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring well to dissolve sugar.
  • Rinse onion and cucumber mixture well with cold running water and squeeze out excess liquid.  Add to pan with vinegar mixture and stir well.
  • After a couple of minutes, remove cucumber and onions from the pan with a spoon into sterilized jars.  Fill close to the top.
  • Continue to reduce the vinegar liquor down for 15 minutes, then pour into the jars.  Seal with lids and leave to cool.
  • Store in a cool dark cupboard for at least 4 weeks to mature.

To sterilize jars, wash out well with hot soapy water until clean.  Rinse and place damp jars in an oven, 140oC, for 10-15 minutes.

To sterilize lids, again wash in hot soapy water until clean.  Drop into a pan of water and boil for 5 minutes.  Use immediately.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pete says:

    Mmmm, spicy stuff, my favourite. Thks for sharing

  2. Margo says:

    Yes! Brilliant. Thanks.

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