MEXICAN CORN RELISH: A BIG BATCH BUSHEL RECIPE
Did I learn this recipe for corn relish when I lived in Mexico? No. But to me, “Mexican” indicates that some combination of cilantro, jalapeno, chipotle, serrano, cumin, oregano, lime and garlic feature prominently in the flavor profile. And of course corn is as Mexican as can be. Ask any Aztec.
So whether or not this corn relish is anything like what might grace the tables of the majestic casas of the Zona Rosa, the pastoral haciendas of Puebla or the glamorous parties la super estrella Olga Breeskin, no matter. It’s peppy, tasty, tried and true. Mexican corn relish is an excellent way to preserve fresh summer corn. As I do every summer with a bushel of finest from Balsam Farms in Amagansett.
By the way, “bushel” can refer to a measure of volume or weight. For corn on the cob, a bushel refers to four dozen ears, which is generally equivalent to 8 gallons and fills up a big burlap sack. (My generous sack contained 51 ears and resulted in 29 c. of corn kernels.) In commodity crop agriculture a bushel refers to the weight of corn kernels off the cob, regardless of volume. The official weight of a bushel of corn kernels is 56 lbs.
Who else would tell you these things?
There will be variations in measurements of corn kernels rendered from a bushel of corn — don’t sweat it. As long as there is enough pickling liquid to cover the relish when you can them you’ll be fine. If needed add some more vinegar during the cooking.
When it comes to chopping the other vegetables neat little squares are nicer than random sized bits and chunks. Big pots are really handy when embarking on big batch projects like this. A corn cutter is a very welcome tool.
1 bushel / big burlap sack of corn on the cob (@48 ears)
4 c. chopped sweet onions
2 c. chopped celery
2 c. chopped mild green peppers
2 c. chopped mild red peppers
1/2 cup minced jalapeno
1 c. chopped cilantro
1/2 c. fresh lime juice
4 c. sugar
2 T. mustard powder
3 T. whole corriander seed
1 T. cumin
1 T. dried oregano
1 t. red pepper flakes
10 c. cider vinegar
Put the corn in a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and let the corn sit in the hot water for 5 minutes. Drain. When cool cut the kernels from the cob.
Whisk the mustard powder into 1 c. of the vinegar. This will prevent if from clumping. Add the mustard vinegar and the rest of the vinegar and the lime juice to a large, heavy kettle. Add the sugar. Add the spices. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Carefully add the corn kernels to the pot. Add the peppers, onion, celery and cilantro. Bring up to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Simmer for 10 minutes. Ladle into sterilized canning jars. Process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.