Condiment of the Week – Relish

April 28, 2016 at 4:56 AM | Posted in Condiment of the Week | Leave a comment
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Hot Dog Relish

Hot Dog Relish

A relish is a cooked, pickled, or chopped vegetable or fruit food item typically used as a condiment in particular to enhance a staple. In the United States, the word relish is frequently used to describe a single variety of relish —pickle or dill relish, made from finely chopped pickled cucumbers. Such relish is commonly used as a condiment, and is an important ingredient in many varieties of the U.S. version of tartar sauce.

It originated in India and has since become popular throughout the world. Examples are jams, chutneys, and the North American relish, a pickled cucumber jam eaten with hot dogs or hamburgers.

 
The item generally consists of discernible vegetable or fruit pieces in a sauce, although the sauce is subordinate in character to the vegetable or fruit pieces. It might consist of a single type of vegetable or fruit, or a combination of these. These fruits or vegetables might be coarsely or finely chopped, but generally a relish is not as smooth as a sauce-type condiment, such as ketchup. The overall taste sensation might be sweet or savory, hot or mild, but it is always a strong flavor that complements or adds to the primary food item with which it is served.

Relish probably came about from the need to preserve vegetables in the winter. In India (where the preparation originated from), this generally includes either vegetables, herbs or fruits.

In the United States, the most common commercially available relishes are made from pickled cucumbers and are known in the food trade as pickle relishes. Two variants of this are hamburger relish (pickle relish in a ketchup base or sauce) and hotdog relish (pickle relish in a mustard base or sauce). Other readily available commercial relishes in the United States include corn (maize) relish. Heinz, Vlasic, and Claussen are well known in the United States as producers of pickled cucumbers and pickle relishes.

A notable relish is the Gentleman’s Relish, which was invented in 1828 by John Osborn and contains spiced anchovy. It is traditionally spread sparingly atop unsalted butter on toast.

Within North America, relish is much more commonly used in Canada and Alaska than in the contiguous United

Red pepper relish

Red pepper relish

States on food items such as hamburgers or hot dogs. One exception is in the Chicago area, where bright green sweet pickle relish adorns hot dogs when “everything” is the order on the dog. American-based fast food chains do not normally put relish on hamburgers even at their locations in Canada and Alaska, whereas Canadian fast food chains (such as Harvey’s) do have it as a regular option just like ketchup, mustard, etc. American-based fast food chains use regular pickles to a greater extent. If it is offered as an option at Canadian locations of American-based fast food restaurants (e.g. Wendy’s), it is generally offered in individually portioned packets rather than added atop the burger. Restaurants, fast food franchises and sports stadiums in Canada prominently offer relish as a topping on hamburgers and hot dogs along with ketchup and mustard, whereas this is less common in most of the United States (although there is variation within the United States).

 

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