Sweet Purslane Relish

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Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 minutes
Overnight in Refrigerator: 24 hours
Yield: 2 to 3 half pint jars; Recipe can be doubled.

File 1839Ingredients:

  • 4 cups finely chopped fresh purslane, leaves and thick stems or just stems
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons kosher or other non-iodized salt
  • 1/2 cup apple cider or white wine vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar OR 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash of freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

  1. For the best texture, strip the leaves off the purslane (save them for another use such as salad) and just use the thick, succulent stems. But don’t worry if there are a few leaves in your relish.
  2. Chop the purslane very finely. Transfer the chopped purslane to a large bowl. Slice off the ends of the onions and peel them. Cut off the stem ends of the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Finely chop the onion and bell pepper, or pulse a few times in a food processor. You want the vegetables to be in tiny pieces, but not totally pulverized into a puree. Add the onion and bell pepper to the purslane and stir to combine.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher or other non-iodized salt to the vegetables and mix well. If that seems like a lot of salt, don't worry: you'll be rinsing most of it off later. The salt is there to draw water out of the vegetables, a step that results in better texture and flavor in the finished relish. Cover the bowl and put the salted vegetables in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  4. Transfer the vegetables to a fine mesh sieve and let them drain for a couple of minutes. Don't be concerned if the liquid that drains out is somewhat goopy: that same mucilaginous property means you don't have to add any thickeners to the relish.
  5. Rinse well with cool water and let drain again. Get out even more of the liquid by pressing the vegetables against the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Return the rinsed and drained vegetables to the bowl, add the spices, and stir to combine. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil in a medium pot. Add the vegetables to the boiling brine. Turn off the heat as soon as the mixture has returned to a boil.
  6. Strain the hot relish through a sieve placed over a bowl. Loosely pack it into clean, hot canning jars, leaving at least 1/2-inch of head space. It is not necessary to sterilize the jars for this recipe. Pour hot brine from the bowl over the relish: the vegetables should be completely submerged in the brine. Press lightly on the relish with the back of a small spoon to release any air bubbles.
  7. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper or clean cloth towel. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Alternatively, skip canning the jars in the boiling water bath and put them into the refrigerator instead. The relish will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months. The flavor will be even better if you can wait a week before eating your purslane relish.

Recipe courtesy of Leda Meredith. http://ledameredith.net/wordpress/