Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish

Hello. My name is Brenda. And I’m a condimentaholic.

I’m not afraid or embarrassed to admit it. And I honestly don’t want any help in curing this delicious affliction!

I LOVE condiments in every form…dips, sauces, salsas, relishes…you name it. Especially when they are whipped up from scratch, made from fresh ingredients that let the seasons shine.


This Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish is one such condiment, bursting with summer’s harvest.

I like to make this fresh relish when the local sweet corn starts showing up at the farmers markets and roadside stands. We hit the jackpot when visiting family in Lake City (MN) a couple weeks ago, when my cousin’s wife recommended a particular roadside vendor. Out of his rusty blue Chevy truck, this vendor was selling sweet corn that was just harvested during the night. And lucky me, it was my favorite sweet and tender “peaches and cream” bi-color variety, the kind Dad grew on the farm.

When we got home, I toted my dozen ears to the deck in the back yard. It’s my preferred place to husk corn, to keep the mess out of the kitchen. I just drop all the husks and silk into an upright brown paper bag, and then back to the kitchen I go.

 This sweet corn relish captures summer with simple refrigerator preservation. No hot water bath processing involved. It stays crisp and fresh and utterly irresistible stored in the refrigerator for 3 months or so. But it truly never lasts that long around here. I expect that I’ll actually make a couple more batches before summer is over, as our girls have just discovered how much they like it, too. We sat down to grilled quesadillas this past week, topped with sweet corn relish, and nearly finished off a whole jar in one sitting!

I like to serve sweet corn relish with any meal that has a Mexican twist. With carnitas or my favorite grilled chicken salad, or simply with tortilla chips to scoop up all those tender tangy kernels. It also shines at the breakfast table, atop fried eggs and slices of creamy avocado.

I’d love to know how you preserve the goodness of summer sweet corn.
Please let me know in the comments! 

Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish

Yield: 4 pint or 8 half-pint jars of relish


  • 8 c. cooked sweet corn kernels, cut from the cobs of 10 to 12 medium ears
  • 1-1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
  • 1 c. finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. diced poblano pepper
  • 2-1/2 c. distilled white vinegar
  • 1-1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 T. cornstarch


A couple notes about the sweet corn: Only use the freshest, most tender sweet corn you can find. I learned the hard way that an ear or two of tough or mushy corn can ruin the whole batch. I test every ear I cut now! Also take care to not over cook the corn on the cob. After adding the corn to boiling water, and after the water returns to a boil, only cook the ears for about 3 minutes. Then cool immediately in cold water.

In a large bowl, combine the corn, red pepper, onion, and poblano pepper. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, cumin, coriander seed, celery seed, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then add the corn mixture. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Spoon off any accumulated foam.

Stir together the water and cornstarch and then stir it into the corn mixture. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 5 minutes, or until mixture starts to thicken, stirring occasionally.

Ladle into 4 pint or 8 half-pint sterilized canning jars. Cover jars with lids and screw on the bands. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for up to 3 months.


from a farmgirl's dabbles

This post is part of the BlogHer Market Fresh Cooking series, which includes 100 percent editorial content presented by a participating sponsor. Our advertisers do not produce editorial content. This post is made possible by Hellman’s/Best Foods and BlogHer.


42 Responses to “Zesty Sweet Corn Refrigerator Relish”

  1. #
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 31, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    I love condiments too! Salsas, mustards, tapenades… you name it and I want to try it. Stores like Dean & Deluca can be disastrous for the wallet :). Love this relish idea and your suggestion to pair it with Mexican food is perfect!

    • Brenda replied on July 31st, 2012 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks, Laura. Ahhhh…Dean & Deluca…reminds me of our trip to NYC many years ago. What a great store.

  2. #
    Tanya — July 31, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    are you able to can this?? I know you can’t can corn becaue it has no acidity in it but I see this has distilled vinegar in it so would that make it safe to can? Looking for ways to use our corn from our garden :)

    • Brenda replied on July 31st, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      Hello Tanya – I’m certain this could be processed in a hot water bath, but I’ve never actually done it. Please let me know if you can this!

  3. #
    Julia {The Roasted Root} — July 31, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    You’re a total crack up! My name is Julia, and I’m a condimentaholic too! I love making condiments from scratch and unfortunately, I haven’t gone through the process of canning large batches yet. I love your corn relish and enjoy the fact that I can make it and have it for months and months! Every night at dinner, I layout the condiments on the table, whether or not they actually go with the meal. Need to make some corn relish to add to the mix!

    • Brenda replied on July 31st, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      I know what you mean about bringing out all the condiments. I have to try to hold myself back sometimes, because it does get to be a bit ridiculous!

  4. #
    Suzy Whitten — July 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    My name is Suzy and I’m married to a condimentaholic ! My refrigerator is 3/4 condiments and 1/4 other edibles. If there is one jar of mustard left in the refrigerator, he’ll go into panic mode and head to the store. He is going to LOVE this relish ! Thanks for the recipe and nice to hear you have folks in Lake City – it’s such a beautiful town and a great drive when the eagles land on the open ice in the Spring ! (Eagan/Burnsville here). ~Suzy

    • Brenda replied on July 31st, 2012 at 10:32 pm

      The same realization hit me about a year ago, that the percentage of condiments in our fridge is freakishly high!! I seriously have a problem. So nice to hear from you, Suzy. And good luck with recouping your fridge space. ;)

  5. #
    Mom — August 1, 2012 at 8:28 am

    This corn relish looks so yummy. From the looks of my fridge you must have inherited that ‘condition’ from me!

    • Brenda replied on August 2nd, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      I’m betting on that inheritance, too. But I’m ok with it…makes life so much more tasty!! :)

  6. #
    Maria — August 1, 2012 at 8:39 am

    So fresh! Love this relish!

    • Brenda replied on August 2nd, 2012 at 2:30 pm

      Thank you, Maria – I have 1 jar left, saving it for a dinner party this weekend. I need to make some more!

  7. #
    Sweetsugarbelle — August 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Hahahahahaha, condimentaholic! You make me lol! I cannot say it enough how much I adore your blog. It’s beautiful and delicious, an the photos amaze me every time!

  8. #
    Amanda — August 2, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Oh that’s gorgeous! I love preserving summer’s bounty!

  9. #
    Beth — August 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Thanks soooo much for making it easy to print your recipes! I save recipes to my computer but also like hard copies. I used to work at a restaurant that had a relish like this on the salad bar. Can’t wait to make it.

    • Brenda replied on August 6th, 2012 at 10:09 pm

      I hope you like this relish, Beth – please let me know!

  10. #
    Lisa | With Style and Grace — August 7, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    perfection in a jar!

    • Brenda replied on August 9th, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks, Lisa. I can’t get enough of, mixing it in to everything! :)

  11. #
    Beth — August 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    This is great stuff, I thought I’d give some away after I made it but I have changed my mind.
    Such a good combination of sweet/sour . Thanks!!

    • Brenda replied on August 16th, 2012 at 10:23 am

      Ha! I know EXACTLY what you mean!!!! (So HAPPY you liked it, too!)

  12. #
    Linda — October 6, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe. We made two batches this year. Our sweet corn was really sweet, so we reduced the sugar on the second batch. I brought a jar to the New Effington Elementary school and my fellow teachers liked the new batch.

    I really enjoy your site. I have tried many of your recipes.

    • Brenda replied on October 7th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      So nice to hear from you, Linda – I’m so happy you liked this. It’s quickly turned into a must-make each summer at our house, especially now that the girls like it, too. Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by! :)

  13. #
    Shawn — March 30, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Hi & Happy Easter,
    I luckily stumbled across your blog! I love your recipe for corn relish, but being a single, doing a refrigerated corn relish isn’t my preferred method. I like to can & make gift baskets & contribute to rescue fundraisers, so my question is….Can I hot water bath your recipe & if so for how long please?


    • Brenda replied on April 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am

      I have not processed this in a water bath, Shawn. You can always consult Ball online for processing times = http://www.freshpreserving.com/recipe.aspx?r=79 = the corn relish recipe on the Ball site says to process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

  14. #
    Carole — May 17, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Carole’s Chatter is collecting links for jams, jellies and relishes today. This is a nice one. I do hope you pop over and link in. This is the link . Cheers

  15. #
    Karen — July 7, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Wow, uber easy!! Didn’t have red pepper so headed out into the garden and found some Aruba peppers and gypsy peppers, not as colorful but very yummy!
    Trying the curry cauliflower today….

    • Brenda replied on July 7th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Yay! This recipe is one of my very favorite summer recipes. Enjoy!!

  16. #
    Helen in SC — September 20, 2014 at 10:17 am

    Love this relish, thank you for the recipe! I canned this and to no detriment that I can tell. 15 minute hot water bath for the pints, 10 for the 12 oz. jars, and 8 for the 8 oz. jars. Relish kept its crunch, too. I’d have refrigerated all the jars, but I have too many condiments in the fridge, so no room there–HA!

    • Brenda replied on September 22nd, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      This is wonderful to hear, Helen. Thank you so much for coming back to let me know. Enjoy your relish! :)

  17. #
    Helen in SC — January 21, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    4 months after canning and the relish is still crispy. I caught a terrible cold before Christmas and was so glad to have enough relish for neighbor presents. Got rave reviews from everybody! No need to reply, just wanted you to know!

  18. #
    Greg — May 31, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Last summer my family froze sweet corn by blanching and cutting off the cob. Do you think it’s worth a try to make this relish using frozen farm fresh sweet corn? Thanks, this looks like a great recipie.

  19. #
    Greg Zick — July 12, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! Made a 5x batch after putting up 100 bags of fresh sweet corn. Hot bathed 20 jars put two in the fridge. It’s awesome thank you!!!

  20. #
    Nancy White — August 21, 2015 at 11:41 am

    I have made corn relish in the past, but it has never had the zesty kick of this recipe. This will be gone in no time.

  21. #
    michelle — October 5, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I just finished this tasty delight !! thanks so much, and I did can it with a pressure canner. of course I hade to save a jar for now,lol,

  22. #
    Eva D — December 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Hi Brenda! You are from Lake City MN???? I was born and raised here in the Birthplace of Waterskiing! My husband and I still live and work here and have raised our 3 daughters here. I work as a School Nurse at Lincoln High…did you graduate from here? I saw the link to your blog on the Pioneer Womans site and thought I would take a look! Loving your recipes!

    • Brenda replied on December 16th, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Hello Eva – No, I’ve lived in the Twin Cities area for over 15 years. Originally from South Dakota. So nice to meet you – thanks for saying hi!! :)


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