Also known as sugar corn and pole corn, sweet corn is a maize with a high sugar content. It is pollinated by wind, so best grown closely in a block. Tall varieties can reach 2 metres and need shelter from wind. It grows in most soils but prefers a well drained, light and fertile plot. Sweet corn is ready to pick when the kernels give up a milky juice. Once picked, the sugar in the cobs starts to convert to starch and the sweet flavour declines. Modern, extra sweet varieties include Sweet Nugget, Dickson and Honey Bantam
Good to eat with cold meats and cheeses, relishes can add flavour to savoury dishes or as an accompaniment to curry. Relishes are usually made from the same types of fruit and vegetables as chutneys, but they have a different texture. Chutneys are smooth, relishes are chunky and crisp. Ingredients for relishes are coarsely chopped and lightly cooked in vinegar, with spices and sugar. Ingredients for chutney are minced or finely chopped and simmered gently for much longer, with spices, sugar and vinegar. They have a short shelf life, as the quantities of vinegar and sugar ( the preservatives in vinegar preserves) are low, in most relishes. They should be stored in the fridge at all times.
Many recipes appear in cookery books and online for uncooked or semi-cooked relishes or those with small amounts of vinegar and sugar and short cooking times. Although they are attractive in texture and flavour, they are not true preserves, and are not normally listed in a show schedule. There is a popular misconception that chutneys and relishes are the same product with different names.
Sweet Corn and Pepper Relish
Makes around 1kg
3 corn cobs
1 large onion
2 red peppers
1tsp chilli flakes
125g granulated sugar
300ml distilled white vinegar
1. Remove the husks and silk from the ears of corn, then place in a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Cool, stand the corn upright and strip off the corn kernels with a sharp knife.
2. Peel and chop the onions. Core, seed and chop the peppers.
3. Mix together the salt, turmeric, chilli flakes and sugar in a large saucepan and stir in the vinegar. Add the corn, onion and peppers. Stir thoroughly.
4. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the relish has thickened. Place the jars in an oven 140C ( 120C fan) 275F / Gas1 for 10 minutes.
5. Pot into warm, clean jars with a covering of the cooking liquid on the surface. Fill the jars to within 5mm from the top. Add vinegar resistant twist-top lids. When cold, refrigerate and eat within two weeks.
For more Preserves Recipes First Preserves: Marmalades, Jams, Chutneys or First Preserves: eBooks
Preserve Your Own – Strawberry Jam
Preserve Your Own – Rhubarb Jam
Preserve Your Own – Strawberry and Black Currant Curd
Preserve Your Own – Tomato and Pepper Chutney
Preserve Your Own – How to Make Syrups and Cordials