A relish is a cooked, pickled, or chopped vegetable or fruit food item typically used as a condiment in particular to enhance a staple. 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.
Description and ingredients
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 pickles and relishes. One of the best known pickle manufacturers in the UK is Branston.
Within North America, relish is much more commonly used in Canada and Alaska than in the contiguous United States on food items such as hamburgers or hot dogs. 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.)
- Branston (food)
- Chow-chow – made with cabbage, this sweet relish is popular in the southern United States and is often eaten with a bowl of pinto beans
- Cranberry sauce
- Ćwikła – Polish beet relish
- Kachumbari – common in East Africa
- Mixed pickles
- Tartar sauce
- Trust, National (2007-06-17). Gentleman's Relish: And Other English Culinary Oddities (A Gourmet's Guide). Warrington: National Trust Books (Anova Books). pp. 12–13. ISBN 1-905400-55-1. Retrieved 10-5-2008.
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