Ask The Readers — Ginormous Jar of Hot Dog Relish

by Katy on September 18, 2011 · 43 comments

Note: I ended up placing a post on my local Freecycle group, and was able to get someone to come and take away the offending jar of relish. Hooray!

My husband Dale volunteers approximately 30 hours a week for our local recreational youth soccer league. He’s on the non-profit board, he coaches and mentors; as well as overseeing the uniforms and merchandising. And last week he organized a huge soccer clinic for the league’s 8-10 year olds with Portland Timbers player Sal Zizzo. The clinic was a giant success, and featured a big ol’ spread with hot dogs, fruit, veggies and the inevitable condiments.

Unfortunately, the leftover food came home with my husband, which means I am the proud new owner of a ginormous half-gallon jar of pickle relish.

Not exactly an ingredient for too many recipes. It’s currently sitting front and center in my already fit-to-burst refrigerator, using up prime real estate and offering up no solutions.

I know I could pour it into the compost or post it on Freecycle, but I though I would ask you, the readers what you would do with the relish?

Seriously, I am loathe to toss perfectly good food, but at the same time I do not relish the idea of actually eating this glop.

So . . . What the heck should I do with this relish?

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Shannon Breen September 18, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Honestly? Unless you’re planning to have hot dogs for dinner for the next month, I’d compost it. Some things just aren’t worth saving.


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm

As far as I know, I don’t think you necessarily need to refrigerate this, so you could just save it for next year’s clinic. Or put it into smaller jars and share with friends and family.

Or, if your kids complain about the dinner you’re serving, whisk away their plates, and serve up a big dollop of pickle relish instead.

Host several hotdog potlucks with several groups of friends. You can always volunteer to bring the relish. You’ll be able to turn one jar of relish into several meals for your family.

Deviled eggs and/or potato salad sometimes call for relish.


Linda September 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I use relish in numerous recipes that I would use diced pickles in. I put it in potato or macaroni salad. I also make my own tartar sauce–mayo, pickle relish and a splash of lemon juice. We also like to serve it as a side condiment when having a pot of beans. I would either freeze it in small containers and get out as needed–or I am sure you could can it and give it as Christmas gifts. Not any different than processing your own and canning. If you find you don’t use all that you freeze, you can always compost at a later time. Good luck!

I so enjoy your blog. It is a daily visit for me!!! Thanks!


Jessica September 18, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Couldn’t you freeze it in ice cube trays and then bag the cubes to use when it’s more convenient? It’d take up a lot of freezer space, but it wouldn’t be in the fridge looking at you.


Ann September 18, 2011 at 1:19 pm

I’d have hotdogs this week for a meal and then dump it. Before it grows mold.


Martha September 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Heat it up in a pot, and then can it in smaller jars! East and quick.Or, drain some of the liquid out and stuff in qt jars for the back of the fridge…that’s what I do:)


Lisa September 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Can you freeze it? If so, freeze it in ziplocs so they can lie flat, then, whenever you need pickle relish, just whip one out and…VOILA!

Or, you know. Compost it and consider the handy half-gallon jar the prize…


Sherry September 18, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Dump the relish, save the nice big jar.


Alison September 18, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Can you put the word out at food banks, churches, etc that serve a large number of people or that might be hosting a celebratory picnic and see if anyone wants it for their group function? Or post it on Craigslist?


marie September 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I don’t know that you should give it to anybody as it seems to be open already. You wouldn’t want to get anybody sick. I definitively WOULD NOT re-can or save it at room temperature.

I would save about a pint-size container’s worth to use normally, and compost the rest, and save the big jar!


namastemama September 18, 2011 at 6:29 pm

I think this is a great idea. If a church or food bank would take it.


kathleen September 18, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Like Linda and Laura mentioned, deviled eggs, potato salad, macaroni salad and tartar sauce. I would also add tuna salad, chicken salad, turkey salad, ham salad and egg salad. Also Thousand Island salad dressing and sandwich spread. I would definitely not compost it. Freezing flat in ziplock-type bags was the first thing that popped into my head. It would thaw quickly for use, and not take up the huge space in fridge. And that’s a great jar! 🙂


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Why would it make anyone sick? It’s not a giant, opened jar of unrefrigerated mayonnaise….


Megan September 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Sweet relish– Eeeww! I would try to give it away- and toss it if need be. We don’t like sweet relish at all. If your family likes it, put a usable amount in a mason jar and compost the rest or give it to someone who can use it. I can’t see a normal family using that up in a reasonable amount of time. Next time bring the ketchup home, lol! That I could work with.


Linda September 18, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Can you suggest a hot dog/burger potluck at work and bring the relish? You could let the other nurses take home what’s let. I can just see the little specimen jars with relish in them!!!


Celeste September 18, 2011 at 4:25 pm

One more idea would be cheese and pickle sandwiches. I first read about them in a series of books set in England. My favorite combo is a small amount of real butter on hearty bread, pickle relish, sharp cheddar, and Boston lettuce. Yum!


Practical Parsimony September 18, 2011 at 4:27 pm

I would not leave it sitting out. I would not can it. I would at least put into two quart jars to get the monstrosity out of my face and off the shelf. Two quarts would be easier to deal with.

That is just plain sweet relish, not hotdog relish. Hotdog relish has mustard in it, at least around here. I put sweet relish in deviled eggs, potato salad, and half a dozen other things, but it will take me a year to use pint! For your family? It depends on whether you use it or not.

You could offer small containers to friends and family. But, I am leary of things that have been to picnics or gatherings where flies and hands other than mine have had access.


Jennifer September 19, 2011 at 9:40 am

I agree with all of these suggestions. Although since it probably wasn’t particularly warm in Portland (since it really rarely is) I’d be less worried that it was compromised at all by sitting out for a while (if it was) and I wouldn’t be leery of giving it away or using it.


Jessica Wolk-Stanley September 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Use it for a toning facial mask. The acids will reduce your skin’s PH, which I know has been an ongoing issue for you. Also, relish is great for tanning raw hide. Or you could dry it and make potpourri or make some sachets. Or use it to dye fabric. You just need to think outside of the jar.


Ann September 19, 2011 at 9:50 am



Greta September 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm

It is awesome in tuna or egg salad. Or, like Jessie says, it does make a great facial mask. Add a few grains of sand and you can exfoliate.

Seriously, egg salad.


Kris2 September 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Wow! Who knew that you could actually obtain that much sweet relish in one container! lol

My son’s girlfriend made pickle burgers one night. She diced up a few pickle chips, mixed it in with the hamburger meat , pressed them into patties and grilled them. It was actually quite good. You could do the same with sweet relish I bet.


AnnW September 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I don’t think you could classify pickle relish under the rubric of real food. How about donating it to a soup kitchen or place that doesn’t serve soup. Believe me, you don’t have to eat this yourself. Ann


Jo September 18, 2011 at 7:25 pm

We use sweet relish on hot dogs and hamburgers, and in sandwich fillings such as tuna salad and ham salad.

Can you put the word out up and down your street that you have one-cup portions to give away?

I wonder about the suggestions to freeze it; it could change the texture – in a bad way. Has anyone here actually done this successfully? If so, this might be the best suggestion.


Angela September 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm

How bout in tuna salad?


Erin from Long Island September 19, 2011 at 1:17 am

what about putting it IN a burger, rather then on it? it would surely subdue the flavor. I bet it would be good with any ground meat if seasoned properly!
I mix a bit with leftover hard-boiled egg yolks and use it to stuff things like peppers or cucumber rings. A wee bit also goes great in tuna mac (AKA tuna noodle casserole) if you are into that. If you are making a salad with a fruit ( i do it with peaches or watermelon), omit the salt and acid and add relish to taste.
I add a dollup of (sugar free) relish on top of salads a lot, or add some to homemade dressings


Erin from Long Island September 19, 2011 at 1:18 am

ps….isnt it too acidic and unnatural for a compost bin?


Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 19, 2011 at 4:16 am

I think Freecycle or Craigslist is the way to go.


Beth D. September 19, 2011 at 5:18 am

I like to add relish to tuna salad 🙂 Although I’m not sure I could eat that much tuna in a lifetime……..


Laure September 19, 2011 at 5:31 am

I’d think it could work well in place of chutney. Save $ by not using spices and use it w/salmon or any meat, etc where you could use chutney. How to get rid of more of it? Plan these meals when you have guests over. Also, I looked it up on all recipes, and there were some bean, etc recipes that looked substantial. I’d think freezing it would still work in recipes of that type. If it were me, I’d transfer some to smaller jars, and freeze some. Now’s the time to experiment.


Jeanne September 19, 2011 at 7:53 am

Use it to hold up your patio umbrella. Who needs gravel?


Katy September 19, 2011 at 8:53 am




Roberta September 19, 2011 at 7:55 am

We keep a small jar of sweet pickle relish to mix with tuna and mayo for sandwiches, otherwise I’m at a loss for how to use that much! I’d probably decant a regular jar’s worth into the fridge, compost the rest, and keep the big jar for collecting spare change!


Katy September 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

Okay, I just posted an “offer” on my local Freecycle group. We’ll see if anyone wants it.



Katy September 19, 2011 at 9:41 am

Some is coming by around noon today for the relish.

Hooray for guilt-free getting rid of this jar-o-slop!



Erin from Long Island September 19, 2011 at 10:33 am



Katy September 19, 2011 at 10:57 am

And . . . it’s gone!

The woman who took it is going to use it for the little league “Snack Shack,” which is perfect!



Laura's Last Ditch--Vintage Kitchenwares September 19, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Yay! Is it crazy that I kept coming back to see the fate of the relish?


CB September 19, 2011 at 5:54 pm

From a nutritional value point of view, I don’t think you should feel too bad about wasting this. Keep a usable amount and compost the rest.

Then make a note to buy less for next year’s event.


psmflowerlady/Tammy September 20, 2011 at 9:24 am

Dang – if you could use it for a facial, why not a body-scrub!


Cathy September 20, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I would freeze it in smaller quantities. It freezes well.


Kari D. September 21, 2011 at 7:20 am

Put a bird on it and call it art! 🙂


Lindsey @ Yarnia October 2, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Ha! I’m a latecomer to this conversation but I’m definitely in the camp of use a little in your tuna and then don’t feel too bad about wasting the rest. If it’s the vehicle that got you a half gallon jar, then it’s already done its job!


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