Over the final few weeks of my CSA share last year, I built quite a collection of red peppers. Both hot varieties (Krimzon Lee, Serrano, Jalapeno, Shishito) and sweet bells (Apple Pimento, Carmen, Red Knight Bell) were filling up the crisper until enough accumulated to make this relish. Sweet with piquant heat and spiced just so with orange, cinnamon, and clove using Arbor Teas Organic Holiday Spice Black Tea, this ruby-toned relish makes a useful condiment to have on hand to dress up holiday meals or to gift away to friends this season. Use it to top cheese and crackers for a quick snack, mix with ketchup for a fancy chili dipping sauce, or dollop over your take-out ramen bowl to add a festive touch.
Holiday-Spice Red Pepper Relish
Makes 1½ pints
About 2 ½ pounds mixed types of red peppers (sweet and/or hot varieties)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups white vinegar
3 tablespoons Organic Holiday Spice Black Tea
3 cups sugar
Pulse red peppers in a food processor to finely chop. This should yield about 4 cups. Combine chopped peppers and salt in a large bowl. Set aside for 2 to 3 hours, until a considerable amount of liquid is drawn out of the peppers. Meanwhile combine the vinegar and the tea in a separate bowl and set aside at room temperature to steep for the duration of salting the peppers.
Place the peppers in a sieve to strain, pressing with the back of a spatula to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer the peppers to a wide, 6-quart, heavy-bottomed pan and add the sugar. Place the sieve over the pan (to catch the loose tea) and pour in the steeped vinegar. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the pepper is translucent and the syrup is somewhat thick. Jelly-like consistency is achieved at 220° F. This may take 25-35 minutes of stirring. Temperatures higher than 220° F will yield a more resinous-like relish that will be difficult to spread, so be attentive to the thermometer throughout the boiling.
Ladle hot relish into clean jars and process for canning or store in the refrigerator for use within the next few months.