State Fair Winnin’ Corn Relish

Being that I am a complete and total carb lover, I like to experiment with my starchy vegetables so that I can manage to work them into every dish. In particular, the sweet, tender kernels of corn on the cob have long been something I’ve treasured. But knowing that the longer the kernels sit on the cob after picking, the less sweet the corn kernels become. So when, one year, I bought a slew of corn from a farm stand, I knew I needed to cook all my corn and find other ways to use it besides eating it straight off the cob.

I started with the basic recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Canning, and changed it a little to meet my tastes. The liquid is outstanding, as is the corn, which improves over time. The recipe here is my concoction, so feel free to adjust the taste to fit you!


  • 18 cobs of corn
  • 1/2 head small green cabbage, chopped finely
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 green spicy pepper (I used pasilla, but have used jalepeno), finely minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 2 cups sugar (less if your corn is really sweet)
  • 1 quart apple cider vinegar (I use organic with “the mother”)
  • 1 c water
  • 2 tbsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp celery seeds
  • 1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds

Cook the corn only until it turns bright yellow (I steam mine for about 3 minutes). DO NOT overcook your corn at this point, it would be better raw than mushy! Then I quick roast it, either by broiling it in the oven, putting it on the grill or just over a stove burner, to color some of the kernels. That will give your corn a crunchy texture, as well as a sweeter, smokier flavor. Once the corn is cool, cut the kernels from the cob.

corn after roasting

Add all the ingredients into a very large bowl and stir together. Actually you could just add them all straight to the pot. There you will stir while your relish is cooking and flavors are melding for the next 15 minutes or so. It is now ready for canning!

Ladle the relish into jars (having a funnel REALLY helps). I don’t use a funnel, so my corn ends up all over the place.

relish into jars

Ensure your jars are full to the bottom of the neck with the veggies, and liquid leaving headspace of only 1/4 inch. Wipe your rims clean with a wet cloth, place the lid and screw top and when all your jars are ready, place them in your BIG pot/boiler water canner, and process for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars to cool and seal, and let them sit for 24 hours. If you can let them sit for that long without digging in. Happy eating!