For the best texture, strip the leaves off of the purslane (save them for another use such as salad) and just use the thick, succulent stems. But if you’re in a hurry, you’ll still get an excellent relish if you include the purslane leaves along with the stems.
1. Chop the purslane very finely, or pulse a few times in a food processor. Transfer the finely chopped purslane to a large, non-reactive bowl (no aluminum).
2. Slice off the ends of the onion and peel it. Cut off the stem ends of the bell pepper and remove the seeds. Finely chop the onion and bell pepper, or pulse a few times in a food processor. You want the vegetables to be in tiny pieces, but not totally pulverized into a puree. Add the onion and bell pepper to the purslane in the bowl.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher or other non-iodized salt to the vegetables and mix well. If that seems like a lot of salt, don’t worry: you’ll be rinsing most of it off later. The salt is there to draw water out of the vegetables, a step that results in better texture and flavor in the finished relish.
4. Cover the bowl of vegetables and leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
5. Transfer the vegetables to a finely meshed sieve or strainer and let them drain for a couple of minutes. Don’t be concerned if the liquid that drains out is somewhat goopy: that same mucilaginous property means we don’t have to add any thickeners to the relish.
6. Rinse them well with cool water and let drain again.
7. Get out even more of the liquid by pressing the vegetables against the sieve with the back of a wooden spoon.
8. Return the rinsed and drained vegetables to the bowl, add the spices, and stir to combine.
9. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil in a medium pot. Once the mixture is boiling, add the vegetables. Let the mixture come back to a boil and then immediately turn off the heat.
10. Strain the hot relish in a sieve placed over a bowl. Loosely pack the relish into clean, hot canning jars leaving at least 1/2-inch of head space. Pour hot brine from the bowl over the relish: the vegetables should be completely submerged in the brine. Press lightly on the relish with the back of a small spoon to release any air bubbles.
Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper or clean cloth towel. Screw on canning lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Once the jars are processed and sealed, sweet relish will keep at room temperature for up to 1 year. It is still safe to eat after that, but the quality will decline. Once opened, store the jars in the refrigerator.
Alternatively, skip canning the jars in the boiling water bath and instead put them into the refrigerator. This purslane relish recipe will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.
The flavor will be even better if you can wait a week before eating your purslane relish.
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