Zucchini relish

  (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Relish is more than just a topping for hot dogs and hamburgers. A spoonful or two can spark almost any meal.

Learn to turn the last of summer's bounty into an easy, bright condiment.

Servings: A generous 9 cups

Ingredients:
3 pounds small zucchini
1 pound white onions
1 pound red and yellow bell peppers
3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 cups cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pickling salt or coarse sea salt, such as Baleine brand
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
1 teaspoon whole yellow mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed whole black peppercorns and whole coriander, finely ground
1 dried chile pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and split

1. Trim and cut the zucchini, onions and peppers into a one-fourth-inch dice and toss in a colander with the 3 tablespoons kosher salt. Set the vegetables aside for 2 hours to allow the salt to draw water from them and drain. After 2 hours, rinse the vegetables by pouring a kettle of boiling water over them; drain well.

2. Heat the cider vinegar, sugar, pickling salt, honey, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, curry powder, ground peppercorns and coriander, dried chile pepper and garlic in a large saucepan or small pot over medium-high heat until the sugar and coarse salt are dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the vegetables and simmer over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and yielding, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and discard the garlic.

3. Pack the hot relish into jars and can according to the jar manufacturer's instructions, or cool and refrigerate. Set the relish aside for a week to give the flavors time to blend and mellow.

Note: Adapted from Kevin West.