Relish got its name from the French word “reles”, which means ‘something remaining’. This concoction was called this by farmers who around the 1700’s would take the summer’s fruits and vegetables that they couldn’t can whole, and add vinegar or wine, sugar, and water to the finely chopped produce to create a side that could be served along side meats and sausages.
Soon, this technique of jarring spread to France’s neighbor England. From there, French and British settlers introduced the condiment to the new world. During this period in time, relishes became popular, and food companies starting bottling and selling it at local grocery stores.
The first company to bottle and sell relish is up for debate. Some say it was Heinz Ketchup Co., the British believe the company John Osborne’s was the first, others believe that the French did not create this condiment at all, but that it is a rendition of Indian chutney. However, according to a Heinz Ketchup ad featuring a pickled relish, the US has been able to buy jarred versions since 1865. So, no matter which story you choose to believe, Americans have been enjoying at least some type of relish for at least a 154 years.
Now, that you have some food for thought on the origin of this zesty condiment, here are some fun facts to relish with your friends.
1. In Canada relish not only tops hot dogs but hamburgers too.
2. Chow-chow, which is made with cabbage, and is most popular in the south of the United States, is often eaten with a bowl of pinto beans.
3. Relish doesn’t have to be tangy, savory, or spicy; it can be sweet too. Common nectarous ones are corn, cranberry, and papaya.
4. Don’t limit relish to just a hot dog topping; it’s also great in deviled eggs and potato, tuna, egg, or pasta salad.
5. Bark relishes are now available in store and at a couple of cool Brooklyn retailers like BKLYN Larder and Greene Grape.