Thousand Island Dressing has lived on, but Thousand Island Relish has largely been lost to history.
You can revive this old relish in your own kitchen, though, through home canning.
We’re not certain of the exact culinary historical origins of this recipe, or just how old it is, but it has been kicking around Canadian kitchens along the St Lawrence River in handwritten form for several generations now. And it almost certainly was kicking around in relatives’ kitchens on the American side of the river, too. This rendition of the recipe has been tested to modern USDA canning safety standards for heat penetration, density, pH, seal, etc, by Canadian Living. (See: Canadian Living as a reputable source of lab-tested recipes.)
This recipe makes a lot; you may wish to cut the recipe in half unless you have a lot of friends who’d love a jar for summer cookouts.
44 calories, 79 mg sodium per 2 tablespoons. (A sugar and salt-free take on it would be 16 calories, 2 mg sodium, per 2 tablespoons.)
Jar size choices: Quarter-litre (½ US pint / 250 ml / 8 oz)
Processing method: Water bath or steam canning
Yield: 12 x quarter-litre (½ US pint) jars
Headspace: 2 cm (½ inch)
Processing time: 10 minutes
Thousand Island Relish
- 3 kg cucumber (6 pounds / 6 large, before prep)
- 1 kg onion (2 lbs / 6 large, before prep)
- 150 g red bell pepper (finely chopped. Measured after seeding, chopping. 1 cup / 1 large / 5 oz)
- 150 g green bell pepper (finely chopped. Measured after seeding, chopping. 1 cup / 1 large / 5 oz)
- 4 tablespoons pickling salt (OR non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub)
- ½ cup flour (2.5 oz / 70 g)
- 3 tablespoons mustard powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
- 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seed
- 1 ½ teaspoons celery seed
- 250 ml water (1 cup / 8 oz)
- 750 ml white vinegar (5% or higher. 3 cups / 24 oz)
- 700 g sugar (white. 3 cups / 24 oz.)
- Wash, peel and seed the cucumber and chop it finely.
- Put in very large pot or bowl.
- Peel and chop the onion finely; add to bowl.
- Wash, seed and chop the peppers finely; add to bowl.
- Sprinkle the salt over the vegetable mixture .
- Pour enough cold water over the mixture to cover it; mix with your hands or a sturdy spoon.
- Let stand, covered, for 1 to 2 hours, then drain well.
- In a very large heavy pot, mix together the dry ingredients: the flour, mustard powder, turmeric, mustard seed, and celery seed.
- Now add in the wet ingredients gradually, stirring to make a sauce: the water, the vinegar and the sugar OR the liquid stevia.
- Add in the drained veg, stir.
- Put pot on stove burner, bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Pack hot into quarter-litre (½ US pint / 250 ml / 8 oz) jars.
- Leave 2 cm (½ inch) headspace.
- Debubble, adjust headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Process in a water bath or steam canner.
- Process filled jars for 10 minutes; increase time as needed for your altitude.
- Best after at least a month of jar time.
How to water bath process.
How to steam can.
When water-bath canning or steam canning, you must adjust the processing time for your altitude (follow the table above.)
For salt substitute, Herbamare Sodium-Free was used.
For stevia, Better Stevia liquid stevia was the stevia used.
More information about Sugar and Salt-Free Canning in general.
Australia and New Zealand vinegar strength special notes.
- Trim off both ends of cucumbers; this is to get rid of an enzyme that could make your relish go soft.
- To seed the cucumber, cut it lengthwise and drag the tip of a spoon along the centre.
- To chop the cucumber, you can cut the peeled, seeded into chunks, pop in a food processor and use the pulse button.
- For the flour, use plain flour or all-purpose (i.e. don’t use self-rising.) Feel free to cut back a bit on the flour, by up to half, even, for a less thick relish.
- You can use all one colour of a pepper; the two different colours are just for look.
- The purpose of the soaking here is to infuse the vegetable with flavour.
- Instead if the sugar, you could use the same volume amount of Splenda® OR 3 teaspoons liquid stevia.
Thousand Island Relish. Canadian Living Test Kitchen. The Complete Preserving Book. Montreal, Canada: Transcontinental Books. 2012. Page 178.
Note: This recipe is lightly thickened with flour. While it generally isn’t considered safe to thicken home-canned products with flour, the exception is if the recipe has been lab-tested for safety by professionals, as this one has been. So enjoy!
All Canadian Living home canning recipes are lab-tested to meet or exceed Bernardin and USDA standards for quality and safety.
Per 2 tablespoons / 30 ml:
- 44 calories, 79 mg sodium
Sugar and salt-free version
Per 2 tablespoons / 30 ml:
- 16 calories, 2 mg sodium
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* Better Stevia ® is a registered trademark of the NOW Foods Company.
* Herbamare ® is a registered trademark of the A. Vogel Corporation.