Sweet Corn Relish is really easy to put together. You will never use store-bought again once you make it yourself! This homemade relish comes together with tomatoes, green peppers and red onions (plus the wonderful spices); a great summer preserve to keep all winter.
- A delicious recipe for canning corn
- What ingredients are in corn relish?
- How do you make the best sweet corn relish?
- What spices are used in fresh Corn Relish?
- Expert tips for making the best homemade corn relish recipe:
- Variations for making sweet corn relish:
- Some other ways to serve the best corn relish
- How long will this corn relish keep fresh?
- Other easy summer jarred recipes:
- Easy Sweet Corn Relish
I recently made roasted potatoes and sweet corn relish and thought I should share the delicious relish recipe on its own. This relish is totally gluten-free, sugar free and naturally vegan.
I shared this in August 2020 and updated it August 2023. It was TOO delicious to not post again for all my friends that LOVE sweet summer corn!
As summer is going by in a flash, now is the moment to savor all the of the fresh flavors. I have become obsessed with jars of everything in my fridge. Sometimes I am pretty sure the top shelf of my fridge will collapse from the weight of the various jarred goodies.
Many of my jarred goodies are from Italian mother-in-law Teresa from last summer or from when they visited us this past winter. Sadly, we didn’t make it to stay with them this summer. So I am channeling her preserving spirit and filling my top shelf all summer long!
My latest project was preserving corn! Now of all the things Teresa preserves and pickles, I have not every had her preserved corn. Not something you would typically make in Calabria, but probably in the Lombardy region where corn is grown everywhere (it’s the polenta capitol of Italy!).
This relish has been made several times in the last couple weeks (yes, we eat a lot of corn in the summer!). The relish does get even more delicious with time. My daughter and husband (yes, my Italian husband) love it the most! It’s one of their new summer favorite recipes.
A delicious recipe for canning corn
I found this recipe via Smitten Kitchen and Deb found it in Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry. I was familiar with Bryant’s work. I have checked out over the years his incredible vegan books.
Every recipe I’ve seen of his is truly inspiring. I did hear about the Vegetable Kingdom book but the last few months have been a blur (it actually came out in February). And it is my next book that I will invest in (I love to have an actual book, instead of a digital copy).
What ingredients are in corn relish?
Here is all you need to make the sweet corn relish. There are a lot of ingredients but perhaps you have many of the components in your refrigerator or pantry:
- Sweet corn, the star of our Summer Corn Relish, brings a natural sweetness and crisp texture.
- Tomatoes (plum or cherry), provide a balance with their slight acidity while adding to the overall freshness of the dish.
- Red onion adds a sharp flavor that complements the sweetness of the corn and tomatoes, while providing an appealing color contrast.
- Green bell pepper introduces a fresh and slightly bitter undertone.
- Garlic infuses the relish with its unique aroma and a depth of flavor.
- Unseasoned rice vinegar imparts a subtle tanginess to balance the sweetness of the vegetables.
- Ground mustard brings a hint of heat and complexity.
- Ground cumin complements the mustard with its warm and earthy tones.
- Sea salt enhances the natural flavors of all the ingredients.
- Freshly ground black pepper adds a touch of heat and sharpness.
- Ground turmeric, though not directly perceptible, reinforces the depth of flavor and endows the relish with an appealing golden color.
How do you make the best sweet corn relish?
You could make this days ahead and I have even made it the day of. The flavors do really come together the more time they have to be together and marinate. But it can even be enjoyed the day of (if you’re so excited like I was and couldn’t wait another minute to try it!).
The first step for the relish is to gather all the ingredients and then make the vinegar mixture. I have used a combination of rice wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar (it was what I had on hand). Other times I have made it using just rice wine vinegar. Either way, it turned out great!
The next step for the relish, place all the ingredients in your large jar.
Then pour the heated up marinade over it. Close the jar and let the magic happen!
What spices are used in fresh Corn Relish?
This particular recipe uses cumin seeds, whole mustard seeds and whole black peppercorns. Using what was in my pantry, I used the ground version of cumin, mustard and black pepper (freshly ground peppercorns).
The recipe also calls for ground turmeric. You could adjust spices to your taste (more or less cumin…cumin has such as strong flavor, so maybe just a touch is all you need).
The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of raw cane sugar. Deb used 1 tablespoon. I have seen recipes with even more sugar (and some with a lot of brown sugar). Feel free to use 1 tablespoon and add more if you like it sweeter (if you aren’t following a diet of no sugar).
Truly there are endless ways to enjoy this delicious condiment. If you are a hot dog eater, I suppose that is truly summer way (I’m not a hot dog eater!!). Burgers! Yes, just perfect topped on a burger (if you’re gluten-free…ditch the buns, and enjoy all the sides with your burger and the relish!).
Keep in mind it makes 1 large quart jar or you could divide it between 2 1-pint jars (or even smaller jars).
Yes, you could use frozen corn. Be sure to defrost it (if you're defrosting in microwave in water, drain the water after it's defrosted).
Green pepper is used in this relish. You could use a sweet red pepper or a combination of red and green peppers.
Yes, if you enjoy spice, go ahead and add in some jalapenos or red pepper flakes.
Expert tips for making the best homemade corn relish recipe:
- To easily remove corn kernels from the cob, place the ear of corn upright on a cutting board and carefully slice downward with a sharp knife.
- For a milder onion flavor, you can soak the diced red onion in cold water for a few minutes before adding it to the relish.
- Adjust the sugar quantity according to your taste preference, adding more for a sweeter relish or less for a more tangy flavor.
- For a spicier kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce to the relish mixture.
- Make the relish ahead of time and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.
- This relish pairs well with grilled meats, sandwiches, or as a topping for tacos and salads.
Variations for making sweet corn relish:
- Instead of corn kernels, you can use grilled or roasted corn for a smoky flavor.
- Substitute the plum tomatoes with diced Roma tomatoes for a slightly different taste.
- If you prefer a milder onion flavor, use finely diced sweet onion instead of red onion.
- For a spicier relish, add finely diced jalapeno peppers or a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- Replace the garlic with minced shallots for a more subtle flavor.
- If you don't have rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar can be used as alternatives.
- Adjust the amount of sugar to your preference for sweetness.
- Feel free to add other spices like paprika or chili powder to enhance the flavor profile.
- Consider adding fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for added freshness.
Some other ways to serve the best corn relish
- Simply wonderful topped on any grilled fish, grilled chicken, steak. If you’re vegan, grilled tofu. Serve it with baked potatoes (white or sweet).
- A great taco topping. And of course, hot dogs and burgers!
- My favorite way: grab a spoon and eat it out of the jar! It is seriously THAT good! (just make sure you don’t eat directly out of the jar…spoon some out into a plate).
How long will this corn relish keep fresh?
Deb mentions storing for up to one year in the refrigerator. Last summer I had a couple jars in my fridge for a couple months. I did not like the flavor that much after that 6-8 week mark. If you would like to preserve by cannning, follow USDA recommendations on canning corn relish.
Other easy summer jarred recipes:
- Easy Marinated Zucchini
- Easy Marinated Mushrooms
- Easy Pickled Cucumbers
- Easy Cranberry Relish with Tangerine and Almonds
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Easy Sweet Corn Relish
- 2 cups corn kernels cut from 2-4 ears, depending on how large the corn ears are
- 1/2 cup plum tomatoes cut in small pieces (or 12 ripe cherry tomatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices)
- ½ cup finely diced red onion
- ½ cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 1 clove garlic peeled and ends cut off (I made a version also using freshly chopped garlic, either way is fine)
- ¾ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar use up to 1/4 cup if you prefer sweeter relish
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- If you’re using fresh corn, bring a pot of water to high heat and boil the corn. Blanch the corn for about a minute and drain in a colander.
- Let the corn cool and slice off the kernels. I had leftover grilled corn on hand and sliced the kernels off the ear.
- Place the corn kernels, tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic in a 1-quart jar, or divide between 2 1-pint jars, and set aside.
- If you blanched fresh corn, in the same pot you used for the corn, combine the vinegar, 1/4 cup water, sugar, mustard and cumin seeds, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
- Cook until the vinegar mixture heats up (if you are using sugar, until the sugar dissolved), about 3 minutes. Pour the liquid over the corn mixture and let cool.
- Refrigerate the relish for at least one day to develop the flavor.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- Will last for 4-6 weeks refrigerated (I did not can mine, just stored in the fridge). I did not like how it tasted after 6 week mark, but if yours still is flavorful, enjoy it after 6 weeks. Deb (Smitten Kitchen)says to store up to 1 year in the fridge. I did not store mine for 1 year, so can't say how it would taste.
- For the sugar: the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of sugar for the sweet corn relish. Smitten Kitchen lowered sugar to 1 tablespoon. You could make the relish recipe with sugar, if you’re not following a strict no sugar diet. Make it as sweet or less sweet as you like. I have made this without sugar and it was sweetened from the natural sweetness of the corn.
- Thinking about storing this in your pantry? If you aren't keeping the relish in your refrigerator, sterilize canning jars before canning, and process the relish-filled jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes after canning. *Follow USDA canning instructions to do it completely safe.