Squash Relish — The Pinto Bean’s Spicy Mate

Everyone knows that opposites attract. That’s why Squash Relish is the perfect complement to Pinto Beans. Serve it right along side the beans so you can get a little of each on your fork. Let the juices mix with the gravy just a little around the edges.

I think about this marriage of flavors like I think of my marriage to Husband. He’s the pinto bean — quiet, steady, reliable. He’s no song-and-dance man. He’s not flashy. He’s constant.

I’m the relish — sweet but vinegary, shocking sometimes. I’m colorful and assertive. I can be a little exuberant. Weird, but in a good way.

Why does our marriage work? Husband grounds me, keeps me from being too flighty. I bring out his fun side, keep him from being too introverted. Together, we snuggle up close and share a mutual appreciation of each other and our wildly different personalities. Just like Pinto Beans and Squash Relish.

This recipe was given to me by Husband’s late mother, Brenda. I love canning and preserving, so I’m especially particular about cutting things up uniformly so that when it’s presented, the finished product is as pretty as it is delicious. With the yellow squash, red pimentos, and green peppers, this relish is beautiful in the jar and tasty on the plate.

Squash Relish

  • 12 cups finely chopped yellow squash
  • 4 cups finely chopped sweet onion (I like Vidalia if I can get them)
  • 2 cups finely chopped hot peppers (you can adjust the amount to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 9oz. jar pimentos
  • 5 cups of sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. While the relish is simmering, sterilize jars, rings, and seals. I like to use half-pint (8 oz.) jars.
  4. Fill the jars with the relish, getting the relish and juice as close to the top as you can.
  5. When all the jars are filled, take a table knife and carefully slide it into each jar down the side several times, pressing inward with the blade to remove any air bubbles.
  6. Put the seals and rings on the jars. Be careful. The jars will be hot!
  7. Put all the jars back into a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.

Note: 7 decent-sized squash will yield around 17 half-pint jars in my experience.

This relish makes a great gift too. Just tie a pretty ribbon around the jar lid, attach a little tag, and get ready to receive compliments from your friends on how good this relish really is.

Photo credit: By Jeffery Martin (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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