Homemade Relish is (Sometimes) Worth the Time and Trouble

Sweet jalapeño homeade relish

Who goes to the trouble of making their own condiments? That’s crazy talk, right? Ketchup, mustard, and mayo are all available right off the shelves at any market in town. Put a little more effort into your search and you can find gourmets spreads like sweet jalapeño relish, harissa, and creative tapenades too. So why would a fool like me spend his time dicing spicy raw jalapeños or chopping sweet bread-and-butter pickles into a couple of cups of homemade relish for something as common as a backyard hot dog?

Certainly, I’ve got better things to do. Right? Well, that really depends on your definition of better.

A couple of weeks ago I had a group of friends in for a semi-regular event we call Sunday Supper. Original right? The name may be ubiquitous, but the concept is universal. It’s a great way to spend quality time with family, or in my case, keep up with a small group of people who are such good friends they’re practically family. When it comes to people this dear, homemade condiments can transform a simple hot dog into an act of love.

However, impressing your friends and family isn’t the only reason to consider the quality of your condiments.

Like so many other foods, condiments are just plain better when you suit the flavor and texture to your own taste. My homemade relish is both sweet and spicy – just the way I like it. It also has a fresh, crunchy consistency that the jarred stuff just can’t match. Meaning this homemade relish is more complex than the sugary pickle relish you buy at the store. It’s made with homemade bread-and-butter pickles, fresh jalapeños, and raw onions. It’s great on burgers or on hot dogs as you would expect – however, it’s also excellent slathered on watermelon. Can Heinz promise that?

Of course, homemade relish means you don’t have to worry about crazy ingredients either. What is potassium sorbate anyway?

Speaking of crazy. I know that neither you nor I will ever rely exclusively on homemade condiments (except in our most delicious dreams). But it’s nice sometimes to forgo the store-bought condiments that line our modern-day refrigerators like pieces on a chessboard and spend some crazy time in the kitchen with condiments. GREG

Hot dog with sweet jalapeño homemade relishsweet jalapeño relish

Sweet Jalapeño Relish 

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Sweet Jalapeño Homemade Relish


  • 1 cup diced jalapeño (stems, seeds and ribs removed)
  • 1 cup diced bread-and-butter pickles
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion (such as Maui or Vidalia)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1–2 tablespoon bread and butter pickle brine (to taste)
  • kosher salt (to taste)


Place jalapeño, pickles, onion, garlic, dill, and brine in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 3 or 4 times, then scrape the sides and pulse several times more until the relish is uniformly chopped to your liking. Season with salt; serve chilled.