When Life Hands You Soggy Pickles… Make Relish!


Sadly, my sweet pickles didn't turn out this year. For some very unknown reason, rather than staying wonderfully crisp, then turned soggy. Very soggy.

Since the recipe I use is pretty tried-and-true (I've done it before many times without fail), I decided to call my mother-in-law to brainstorm ideas of what went wrong. The recipe originates from her, so I thought she might have some clues to help solve my soggy pickle mystery. Together we came up with various thoughts… the extra pickling cucumbers I was given from a friend were too large, or they were the wrong kind of cucumber, or maybe they had some kind of bacteria on them, or maybe my fridge temperature wasn't cold enough… we still don't know and it's bugging me a bit, so if you have any thoughts to add in, send them my way!

However, my mother-in-law did come up with one fantastic solution to my main problem– I just hated the thought of wasting so much food! All that organic apple cider vinegar, raw honey, onions from my garden, not to mention the cucumbers.

So why not make relish?

I did just that. I used a slotted spoon to scoop out all of the pickles, along with a bit of the onions and of course, some of the pickle liquid. I put it all in my food processor and chopped it up in several batches. It looked like relish. It smelled like relish. But not being a relish fan myself, I still wasn't quite sure. I called my hubby in for a taste test… and he loved it! Best relish he's ever had! Phew! 

Perfectly good food, saved from the trash can. That makes me really happy, and even happier to see my husband enjoying the relish on the hamburgers we ate the other night.

How have you made good use of food that would have otherwise been wasted? Any stories to share of how you transformed a kitchen disaster into a victory?

And, to help out a reader who left this comment:

Now, here
is a "pickle" for you: I made a large batch of the lacto-fermented
refrigerator pickles that you had posted a recipe for awhile ago. I
used 2T of salt, because I had no whey. They ended up being way too
salty. Even my husband who loves salty pickles had to admit that they
probably need to be tossed. They have since been in my refrigerator
because I do not want to throw them all. Any ideas on what to do with

Any suggestions for Sheri?

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About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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  1. Interesting about the pickles and salt. I agree with the potatoe comment. Just wanted to add that I have also used potatoes to “draw out the salt” with too salty recipes for canning. My mother told me to do that! And it worked for us. Not for the same recipe but for something else.

  2. We had the same problem at our house. We made the pickles with salt and they turned out way too salty… so my daughter rinsed them out and added fresh water. Then, she put a cut potato in the jar (because we were told be some very smart homemakers that potatos have “drawing out powers”) and voila’… the pickles are just fine. Hope this helps your readers!
    Cynthia and Bethany (age 15 years)

  3. I had the same problem as your last commenter about the lacto-fermented pickles being too salty. We couldn’t eat them. Did anyone have a suggestion?

  4. Nola, I just refrigerated it. They were fridge pickles anyways, so I figure that they will still stay good for quite a long time in there because of the honey and vinegar in the recipe. I suppose I could experiment with freezing some of it… hmmmm.

    Sheri, I’m so sorry to hear that they ended up being too salty! I have actually always done them with the whey and not the extra salt, so I wasn’t sure how they would be with the extra. It’s good to know that they end up too salty. Perhaps I will change that aspect of the recipe, knowing how they turned out for you. As for your dilemma, I’m honestly not quite sure what to suggest. Let me add this as a question to the bottom of my post above and see if we get any good ideas from other readers.

  5. Our neighbor left the largest zucchini I have ever seen by our front door. We are not able to have a garden of our own so we love the freebies! My freezer is already full of chopped zucchini from their last donation, among other things, so I was not sure what to do with all of it, so it sat on our counter for quite awhile. I finally decided to puree it all and freeze it in small portions to use to make zucchini bread throughout the year. The puree fit in the freezer a lot easier and I am glad that it is no longer on my counter!
    Now, here is a “pickle” for you: I made a large batch of the lacto-fermented refrigerator pickles that you had posted a recipe for awhile ago. I used 2T of salt, because I had no whey. They ended up being way too salty. Even my husband who loves salty pickles had to admit that they probably need to be tossed. They have since been in my refrigerator because I do not want to throw them all. Any ideas on what to do with these?

  6. That’s great! Did you can the relish, or freeze it, or refridgerate it?

    Maybe next year you will have to make pickles and then grind them into relish to have “the best pickles ever” for your husband. LOL

    I really don’t like wasting food either. I can’t think of anything right now that I did save…but I know there has been things. Putting almost bad fruits in smoothies is a good idea, as is pureeing limp veggies to go into sauces. This year I didn’t have enough cucumbers to make relish so I used some zuchini as well. Turned out great!

  7. What a good idea!

  8. I agree with Hallee’s comment. My mom also used oak leaves successfully (she saved several fresh leaves, washed and froze them for future use. Very smart.). I recently made some pretty good dill pickles (not totally crunchy, but not mushy either). I used dill, prepared horseradish and salt. That’s it!

  9. Hi!
    I tend to forget the vegetables that are in the fridge drawer so when I finally remember them they are one step before final death. I then cook them into either soup or pasta sauce and freeze some.
    Also, yesterday’s food (almost any meat/pasta/rice dish) will become today’s omelet with just a few eggs, some cheese and maybe some tomato sauce. Easy and totally different!


  10. Everything I read about canning pickles this year said to put horseradish or grape leaves in with the recipe and it will keep the pickles crisp.

    This is my first year trying it, so I’m not going to be shouting it from the rooftops until I open a jar, however. :-)


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