Remember when you used to be able to buy a decent, flavoursome corn relish? I do. I miss being able to grab a bottle of corn, or gherkin relish, and chucking it in a mixing bowl along with a block of Philly cream cheese, whipping it all together for a quick fix dip with some cracker biscuits.
Yes, yes, one can still buy such things, however, the additives, the preservatives, the lack of balance of real flavour just isn’t there anymore. And, sadly, and hugely frustratingly, mustard seeds, as well as a number of other bits and pieces, are a real no no for me for health reasons.
I’ve never made corn relish before so researched a whole lot of recipes before settling on one from the Sally Wise recipe book Complete Preserves to try. I have a startling array of herbs and spices on hand, and keep them up to date with extras so am rarely caught without a required spice at the ready. Fresh corn was the only ingredient missing, so I began to think about using frozen corn.
My local fruit and veg store has weekly specials, which I gladly take advantage of. They also home deliver, which is a significant bonus and means I can support local producers instead of only buying from a supermarket, which also delivers. Home delivery is necessary for my quality of life for lots of reasons. If I had to physically go shopping every fortnight, it’d take all the time in between shops to recover from the onslaught of the experience.
Back in early December, cobs of corn were on special, as well as the apricots I purchased for my apricot jam project. Having been unable to find any suitable ready made corn relish anywhere, and craving some good old fashioned relish dip, these well priced corn cobs were an obvious choice to add to the shopping order. All the other ingredients I already had on hand.
It’s an interesting journey, making preserves. These ingredients needed to be salted and left for a couple of hours to draw out the liquids for a crisp end result. Jams are sugared. I love the different results, and love learning how the chemistry of stuff works.
When I make raita for curry, I sugar the cucumber cubes and freeze the liquid each time, I’m working on waiting until there’s enough to make a delicately flavoured jam with it. Here is the Cucumber Raita recipe I use. I peel the cucumbers, use Greek Yoghurt, white instead of black pepper, and powdered cumin instead of whole. Dry frying the spices is vital to a full flavoured outcome. I cut the cucumber into 1cm cubes, sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over it in a container, let it sit for a couple of hours, then drain. Try to find a way to use the juice as it’s very nice.
Being unfamiliar with this relish recipe, I made one mistake, at least for my tastes. It needs to be somewhat thicker. I should have trusted myself and added more cornflour than the recipe called for. To remedy that, when the next new bottle is opened, I intend to heat and thicken the contents and re-bottle. I have four of the six jars left, so there should be time to at least try that as a fix so I can make a recipe note for next time.
The deliciousness has not been affected by the thinness though. I’m enjoying it on eggs and toast, with ham, or corned beef, or just on it’s own on toast. I think the flavour itself was what I was craving because the corn relish cream cheese dip is still waiting to be made. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day, or maybe the weekend. I’ll add it to my list of things I want to do.