Indiana is pretty well-known for its corn, and for good reason! Our hot and humid summers tend to produce the perfect conditions for sweet, juicy, delicious corn. During the summer as a kid, I had a daily ritual of going down to the garden and popping off a fresh ear of corn, shucking it, and eating it right there in the garden. Corn here grows sweet, juicy, and plump enough to eat raw!
Once I’ve had my fill of raw corn, boiled corn, grilled corn, and corn ice cream, I start thinking about ways to preserve corn to eat all year long. Freezing is one of the best ways to keep corn fresh-tasting and ready-to-eat at anytime, but one of my other favorite ways to use up a surplus of corn is to can some corn relish.
Corn relish is an amazingly versatile dish. You can use it in place of regular cucumber relish on hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats, but it also works as a salsa, mixed in with pasta, or just as a side dish on its own.
The thing I love the most about corn relish though is how stupendously easy it is. Especially for first-time canners. It’s a great small-batch dish to get down the basics of canning. I know a lot of folks start with jams and jellies, but I think more savory dishes (like this relish or pickles) are a better way to start. No worries about additives or sugar levels. Just cook it, can it, and process it! Easy. Peasy.
If you are afraid of canning, I promise you have no reason to be! Canning is actually remarkably simple and incredibly rewarding. Trust me, the most satisfying sound in the world is the sound of a jar popping to seal after processing. You will feel so proud of yourself! And you get to eat delicious healthy food all year round.
Before I dig into the recipe, here are a few tips that’ll help make the whole process go a lot more smoothly:
- To get the kernels off the corn cob, simply place a small bowl upside down in a larger bowl. Shuck the corn and then rest the corn on the small bowl. Run your knife along the corn cob and let the kernels fall into the big bowl. You can also just use a Bundt pan in the same way (but I don’t have one!). See photos of this process in this post.
- Have all of your canning supplies—jars, lids, funnel, ladle, jar basket, jar lifter tong things, etc.—washed, clean, and ready to go before you start cooking.
- Before you twist the lids on the jars, run a damp washcloth along the top to remove any relish. That’ll help the cans seal properly.