Can You Freeze Relish?

by Charlie

Relishes does not limit only to pickles, you know. Some relishes are made from artichoke, Jalapeño peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, and more! They are available at the grocery stores, or you can just make them at home. Use it as a side dish or as a garnish. These tangy little bits add a good zing, color, and texture to your recipes!

Sometimes, you may only need a few teaspoons of relish to work its magic in your cooking. And, even the smallest jar of it you can buy at the grocery store is even more than enough. On the other hand, when you make some homemade relish at home, you will surely have to keep the leftovers as well. It would be a waste to throw some leftover relishes away, right? In that case, you may have thought of putting them in the freezer, hoping you can keep them for a long time.

So, can you keep relish in the freezer? Yes, you can totally freeze relish! You can store the relish in a glass jar, re-sealable bag, or in an airtight container, and it can remain good for up to several months to a year.

Relishes are popularly used as spreads for sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, and cooked in stir-fries. It is a preserve that falls under the condiment category. Relishes contain finely chopped vegetables and spices cooked in a vinegar mixture. They have a chunkier texture compared to the traditional ketchup or mustard. 

Freezing Relish

If you have more freezer space to welcome your relish, then that’s good. Frozen relish can actually last for up to a year in your freezer. Once it is defrosted, it can last in the fridge for weeks to a few months. It is encouraged to freeze relish in small batches and quickly use it to maximize its quality.

How to Freeze Relish

If you have some homemade relish, apply these proper steps on freezing them:

Step 1. Place relish in food jars 

First of all, you can choose to freeze your relish in large amounts or store them in smaller amounts in sterilized jars. Ensure that you find some glass jars that can withstand freezing conditions. Glass containers are ideal for relishes. Make sure to sterilize it before filling it with pickle relish. 

Use a spoon or a ladle to transfer your relish into the freezer containers. Leave enough head space about half an inch to make room for the relish to expand during freezing. Be careful with handling foods in a jar as it becomes more fragile when frozen.

If using glass jars, you have the option to sterilize your relish-filled jars before labeling and storing them in the freezer. You can skip the sterilization part and proceed to step 2.

Step 2. Let it cool

Your relish may still remain hot inside the jar after filling it. Let your jars cool down before putting them in the freezer. It is necessary to cool it down to not shock the jars to the sudden change of temperature.

Step 3. Label your jar with the following information:

  • Name of the food, i.e., pickle relish/tomato relish
  • The date you stored the relish in the freezer
  • Use-by-date 

Step 4. Freeze it

Make sure that your freezer is free from any odors. Additionally, make sure your freezer should maintain a temperature of at least 0℉ or -18℃. It is not ideal that you have them thaw and refreeze from time to time if the temperature of your freezer abnormally fluctuates.

If you can’t find any glass jars, you can use re-sealable freezer bags to store your relish. Fill it with enough pickle relish and squeeze out all the air inside. Lay your packed relish flat on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen, it will be easier for you to stack them.

Another tip to freezing food: it would be more organized if you divide the freezer into different sections where meats, vegetables, or other frozen items have their own space. In this way, you can prevent food from contaminating other items, making it more accessible for you to reach certain items in the freezer. 

How to Thaw Frozen Relish

  1. Refrigerate it

When the day is nearly approaching for you to use your frozen relish, just thaw them in the refrigerator overnight. Although it takes time to thaw it in the refrigerator, this method ensures that your food stays at a safe temperature. 

  1. Thaw under running water

If you suddenly need to use your relish, thawing the container under running water works faster.

Avoid thawing your frozen jar of relish in a bowl of hot water, or else it may create a thermal shock and break the glass.

Does Freezing affect the Quality of Relish?

Relish is already a preserved product, though. People aim to freeze food to increase their shelf life for a longer time. After thawing your frozen relish, you can still keep it for weeks in the refrigerator but expect that as time passes, its texture and flavor will eventually drop. 

How to know if Leftover Relish is still Safe for Consumption?

Inspect the appearance and smell of your relish. If it has developed molds, or an off odor, appearance, or flavor, it should be discarded.

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