How to Make Old-Fashioned Mustard Pickle Relish

Learn how to make this delicious relish from Grandma's kitchen. The vintage condiment will transform your burgers!

I’m big into canning and love to grow vegetables in my garden, so when I read one woman’s story about her grandma’s relish, I got inspired to make something new. Raelynn Reed of Wilmington, Delaware, told Country magazine that when her mom was a kid, her favorite snack was a mustard pickle relish sandwich. And without fail, Grandmom Hilda always had one waiting for her after school. When Raelynn was growing up, her mom carried on that after-school tradition, too.

Raelynn says the fresh, tangy relish, slathered between two slices of bread, transported her back to the garden long after summer was gone. If you love the flavors of summer veggies, make this yummy relish a tradition in your family, too.

Have a recipe with a sweet story behind it? Share it with us.

How to Make Mustard Pickle Relish

We found a recipe similar to Grandmom Hilda’s in our collection, so you can bring some to your next backyard barbecue. It’s also a delicious topping for burgers and hot dogs. This will yield about six pints of relish.


  • 7 large cucumbers, shredded
  • 3 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cups shredded carrots
  • 2 medium sweet red peppers, finely chopped
  • 5 tablespoons salt
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed


  • Large mixing bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Dutch oven
  • Big spoon
  • 6 glass pint jars with new lids
  • Soup pot
  • Jar lifter or tongs
  • Kitchen towel
  • Canning funnel
  • Ladle
  • Boiling water bath canner
  • Oven mitts
  • Cooling rack

Test Kitchen tip: We use—and love—this steam canner ($39), which makes the process go way faster than a traditional boiling water bath canner does.


Step 1: Prepare the vegetables

Toss the first five ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and let stand for 3 hours. Drain off any liquid, then squeeze the vegetables with your hands and blot them dry with paper towels.

Test Kitchen tip: While your mixture sits, it’s super important to inspect and sterilize your jars for food safety. (That’s where the soup pot comes in.) Check out our complete guide to canning before you get started.

Step 2: Boil, baby, boil

Stir the sugar, vinegar, celery seed and mustard seed in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. Bring this mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the prepared vegetables and bring the relish back up to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 more minutes.

Test Kitchen tip: Now’s a good time to sterilize your jars. A jar lifter will make the whole process easier. There’s one in this canning utensil kit ($12), which our editors recommend.

Step 3: Fill up those jars

Carefully ladle the hot vegetable mixture into six hot 1-pint mason jars, leaving 1/2-in. headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary, by adding more hot mixture. Wipe the jar rims clean, then center the lids and screw on the bands until fingertip tight.

Step 4: Take time to process

Place the filled jars in the canner, ensuring that they are completely covered with simmering water. Bring the water to a boil, and process for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the jars with tongs or a jar lifter and let them cool.

Test Kitchen tip: If you’re using a steam canner, follow the accompanying instructions.

Give a few jars of mustard pickle relish to friends or neighbors, and store the rest in your pantry. That way, you can savor fresh summer veggies all year long!

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  • The processing time listed is for altitudes of 1,000 feet or less. For altitudes up to 3,000 feet, add 5 minutes; 6,000 feet, add 10 minutes; 8,000 feet, add 15 minutes; 10,000 feet, add 20 minutes.
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Lori Vanover
Lori has been a writer and editor for 16 years, fueled by plenty of coffee and chocolate. She hopes to retire someday and become a hot pepper farmer, cake decorator or barbecue pitmaster.