Creative condiments: say it with relish

Today’s healthy cooks want big flavors, which is why they’re stocking up on relishes, pickles, chutneys, vinegars and other highly flavored condiments.

Depending on your tastes, relishes can be spooned over grilled chicken, drizzled on salads and served over rice. They heighten and brighten the menu with good-for-you flavors and textures. Best of all, they embellish a meal while adding virtually no fat or cholesterol.

It’s hard to imagine a world without relishes and pickles. No more cranberry relish at Thanksgiving. Goodbye to corn relish on the barbecue platter. No more pickles on hamburgers and hot dogs.

Relishes and pickles provide more than just great tastes. Since they contain mostly fruits or vegetables and vinegar and spices, they’re very low in fat and calories. What’s more, they provide flavorful alternatives to fat-laden condiments like mayonnaise, sour cream, buttery spreads and salty chips.

There’s an enormous variety of relishes and pickles to choose from. When you get bored with one kind, buy another. Better yet, make your own. It’s that easy!

Follow your tastes. No matter how much you enjoy hot dog relish and sweet pickles, sooner or later you’re going to want to try something new. You can make fantastic condiments from virtually any fruit or vegetable, including beets, tomatoes, corn, peaches, apples, pears and nectarines. Some cooks even add dried fruits like dates and raisins to the jar.

Combine the flavors. Are you tired of Aunt Ethel’s delicious but ancient recipe for corn relish? Shake up your taste buds by combining new flavors and ingredients.

  • Beet-apple relish — Combine diced beets, apples, onions, cider vinegar, allspice, cinnamon and sugar.
  • Green-tomato relish — Combine diced green tomatoes, onions, pears or apples, wine vinegar, minced garlic and sugar.
  • Peach-apricot relish — Combine diced peaches, dried apricots, onions, minced ginger, white vinegar, dry mustard and sugar.
  • Corn-and-pepper relish — Combine corn, red and green peppers, diced onions, ground red pepper, white vinegar and sugar.

What you have in your mind?