Sweet Pepper & Onion Relish {Copycat Recipe}

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

This Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish is my copycat version of Harry & David’s popular treat.  It’s delightful mixed with cream cheese and spread on crackers or used as a glaze for pork and chicken.

And it makes a fabulous gift!

This post is sponsored by Pollinate Media Group™ and Cooking Light, Real Simple, and Sunset Magazines.  All my opinions are my own. #pmedia #SafewayHoliday http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO.

I always enjoy receiving homemade gifts.  When someone takes the time to make something for you, whether it’s a simple plate of cookies or some elaborate craft, it says a lot.  It makes you feel all the more unique, special, appreciated and loved.  Cooking happens to be one of my biggest passions, and so naturally I particularly enjoy making gifts for people that are edible.  Christmas cookies, as always, are on my list this year along with a few other goodies.  And today I’m sharing a special one with you.

I picked up this month’s issues of Cooking Light, Real Simple and Sunset at Safeway ($1 off coupons available in select stores while supplies last, so hurry in!) and once the kids were in bed I enjoyed a luxurious evening thumbing through each issue.  One of the recipes in Cooking Light is for glazed chicken that features red pepper jelly.  The moment I saw that the light bulb came on.  What a great gift idea – homemade red pepper jelly.  As the wheels continued turning I thought about a red pepper and onion relish that I love from Harry & David that’s especially popular during the holidays.  It’s delicious mixed with cream cheese and spread on crackers, or used as a glaze for pork or chicken.  Those tiny jars of it are pricey for what you get and so I decided to make my own copycat version.

Back to Safeway to buy some more canning jars, pectin, and the ingredients for this relish.  Then back to my kitchen to finish up the experiment.  The end result:  It’s fabulous!  You’re going to love it and so are the lucky recipients of your gift!  Just add a ribbon and a little tag and your gift is complete!

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

Let’s get started!

Combine all the ingredients, except for the pectin, in a large stock pot.

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat RecipeHarry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Now it’s time to add the pectin.  You won’t need much because most of the liquid will have evaporated by now.

Add the pectin (I used and recommend Ball’s Realfruit Classic Pectin), bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

Immediately ladle the hot relish into hot sterilized canning jars with sealable canning lids.  Process in a water bath for 20 minutes.

* A note about the water bath process:  There are specific canners for the job – this is the one I have.  It’s deep enough to fully cover the bottles by several inches, it has rack with separate compartments that keeps the bottles separated so they don’t break by getting knocked against each other while boiling, and it comes with all the extra equipment you’ll  need.  If you don’t own a canner and don’t want to buy one, just use a large, deep stock pot and place the jars in it with the water covering the top by at least two inches.

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

Remove the jars from the canner and let them rest for 24 hours undisturbed before moving.   This Sweet Pepper & Onion Relish will keep up to a year.

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

This recipe makes about a dozen 1/2 pint jars.  For the ones you want to give away as gifts, just tie a ribbon around them with a little label.  Are they cute or what?

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

Enjoy this relish mixed with cream cheese and spread on crackers, as a glaze for chicken or pork, or however else your imagination inspires!

Harry & David Sweet Pepper and Onion Relish Copycat Recipe

P.S.  Recipe for a glazed chicken dish using this Sweet Pepper & Onion Relish coming soon!

Sweet Pepper & Onion Relish
 
A copycat recipe of a Harry & David favorite.
:
Ingredients
  • 6 cups tomatoes, skinned, seeded and diced (first blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for 30 seconds for easy peeling)
  • 6 cups red bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 4 cups yellow onion, diced
  • 4 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1½ cups cider vinegar
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne
  • 3 tablespoons pectin (recommended: Ball's Classic Realfruit Pectin)
  • *See NOTE if relish turns out too runny.
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients, except for the pectin, in a large stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 1½ hours, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add more cayenne to taste if desired. Add the pectin and quickly bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and ladle the hot mixture into hot, sterilized canning jars.
  2. Process the jars in a canner or large stock pot (see note on canners in post), with the water at least one inch above the jars, for 20 minutes. Remove the jars and let them sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Relish will keep for up to a year.
  3. Makes about a dozen ½ pint jars.
Notes
Do a quick test before canning the relish: Put a small spoonful on a cool plate and wait a couple of minutes then check for consistency. It shouldn't be running all over the plate, but you don't want it hard a jello either. Note, it can take a full 24-48 hours for pectin to set properly. Shake one of the jars and see if it's runny. If it is, you can still "rescue" them by opening the jars (you'll need to use new lids but as long as the rims aren't bent you can reuse those), pour everything back into a pot, bring back to a boil and stir in more pectin. Then can again.

 

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30 Responses

  1. jesusan

    wrote on

    This sounds like fun. A suggestion, if I might: when I was making jams/jellies/preserves, etc. that were processed in a hot water bath, the instructions I had said to stand them up top down for 10 minutes or so before turning right side up. This will help with creating the vacuum that seals the jars thoroughly. That was many years ago, but it still makes sense to me.

    • jesusan

      wrote on

      The instruction about having them upside down is for when you take them out of the water bath… :-)

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      That makes sense, Susan, and sound advice never comes with an expiration date – thank you!

  2. wrote on

    These look amazing. Great photos

    • The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi, Chris, thanks so much for visiting and for the compliment. Just paid a visit to your site and it’s lovely. I’m going to pop by again later when I have a little more time. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. Jennifer

    wrote on

    Any particular type of tomato you would recommend?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Jennifer! I use Roma’s because they’re more fleshy and less watery.

  4. Lyn Sheely

    wrote on

    Mase these but we used canned, diced tomatoes which we drained. Turned out fabulous. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe. We look forward to making more.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Canned tomatoes work great, too, Lyn. So happy you enjoyed it and thank you for the feedback!

  5. melanie

    wrote on

    Do u cook the tomatoes first to peel and seed them?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Melanie! Yes, they’re much easier to peel if you blanch them first. I’ve added that note in the recipe. Simply put the whole tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds and remove them. They’ll be very easy to peel that way.

  6. Mlink

    wrote on

    Mine was very watery even after the whole cook time. Will it thicken when it cools from the pectin?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Mlink! It will get thicker, but if it was “very” watery after the cooking time and you added the pectin, then something went wrong. In blanching the tomatoes and squeezing out the seeds a good amount of water will also have been discarded. Important too is that the pectin isn’t expired and that it’s brought to a full boil, but only for a minute. If something went wrong and it’s too watery, you can add more pectin and boil it briefly. Be careful with the pectin though because it will get thicker as it cools and you don’t want it to end up like thick jello.

  7. Anonymous

    wrote on

    When we made it using canned diced tomatoes, we drained them and measured to 6 cups. No blanching. We had more of the relish then indicated in your recipe so we thought we may have done something wrong. We used pectin and it was new and ours was watery as well. Maybe there is a knack to using pectin. It has gotten a little thicker but still is so delicious. We plan on making again so maybe we will use more pectin and see how we make out.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Is it still watery? It can take a full 24-48 hours for pectin to set properly. Shake one of the jars and see if it’s runny. If it is, you can still “rescue” them by opening the jars (you’ll need to use new lids but as long as the rims aren’t bent you can reuse those), pour everything back into a pot, bring back to a boil and stir in more pectin. Then can again. You can do a test first: Put a small spoonful on a plate and wait a couple of minutes. Is it set or still running all over the plate? I’ve never made it with canned tomatoes so I honestly don’t know how that would impact the final results, but anything will set properly with enough pectin!

  8. Anonymous

    wrote on

    Thanks, Kimberly. Not sure we would redo what we already made but we are going to make more soon so hopefully we will do a better job. Appreciate your helpful feedback :)

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      I’ve increased the pectin amount on the recipe. The feedback I’ve gotten is split down the middle in terms of pectin amount. For me, the mixture always cooks down and a lot of the liquid evaporates, requiring less pectin. But there can be quite a bit of variation depending on the kind of tomatoes used. I like to err on the side of too liquidy because it’s an easy fix. When I was developing this recipe I used too much pectin the firs time and it was a wreck! Next time try it with the adjusted pectin amount and do the “plate test” before canning it to see if it needs a little more pectin.

  9. Anonymous

    wrote on

    Sorry for all the comments but as for the plate test, you do that before you put in the jars and it should not runny? I would hate to go through all the work and money and it be a wreck! Guess you can always add more, not remove it. Thanks again, appreciative all your helpful hints and who knows, maybe it is helping others.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      No problem at all! This thread will be helpful to anyone reading it. Yes, perform the plate test right after you’ve added the pectin and rapidly boil the mixture for a minute. Turn the heat off and dab a little spoonful onto a cool plate. Wait for about 2 minutes and then check the texture. Keep in mind it’s a relish and you don’t want it to be thick like jam. But it shouldn’t be watery either. If it’s still too watery add a little more pectin and boil for another minute. It can be tricky though because it can take pectin a full 24-48 hours to set properly and you don’t want to end up with a really firm texture. Let us know how it goes!

  10. Greg

    wrote on

    I followed your recipe with great success. Many smiling faces. Thanks!

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Wonderful, Greg, so glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate the feedback!

  11. Anonymous

    wrote on

    Very interesting fine, Kimberly today. When I printed out your recipe on 7/3/14, for some reason, the recipe calls for 1 tbs. pectin and I noticed today, your recipe now says 3 tbs. That would totally explain why ours was runny. do you remember changing it at some point?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      I do! Read through the previous comments for an explanation. Also note, depending on the elevation where you live, the simmering process may cause the liquid to evaporate more or less, so you may need to tweak the amount of pectin you use accordingly.

  12. Joann

    wrote on

    Are you using liquid or powdered pectin?

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Hi Joann, in the recipe box I include a link to the pectin I use and recommend: Ball’s RealFruit Classic Pectin. It’s powdered.

  13. Joann

    wrote on

    Thanks. I saw that after I posted my question. Since I cannot use products with dextrose, I am going to try with the liquid. I’ll post my results. J

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      I haven’t made this with liquid pectin before, let us know how much you used to get the right consistency. Thanks, Joann!

  14. Joann

    wrote on

    I used 1 package or 3 oz of RealFruit Pectin by Ball. I also added 2 more cups of sugar, as I wanted a sweeter, less tart, flavor. The consistency is runny, but usable. Now the question is did the relish not set up because of the brand of pectin or the amount used. There are only 3 reviews of the RealFruit Pectin on the Ball website and all 3 are very negative about the achieved results. Using a substitution ratio of 1T liquid to 2 t of powder, I should have used only 4.5 T of liquid pectin. I added 6 T and as I said, it is still runny. I am going to try Certo brand the next time and see if it makes a difference. If anyone does that soon, would you please post your results. Regardless of consistency, the flavor is great. Thanks, Kimberly.

    • Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

      wrote on

      Joann, Ball is the only one I’ve used for this recipe and it always works for me (I use it for my jams as well). I haven’t experimented much with liquid pectin or other brands so I’m afraid I can’t offer much info there in terms of a comparison of results. Yes, any feedback on varying results depending on brand and type of pectin would be much appreciated from anyone!

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