The Vinegar Substitute You're Allowed To Make In Sweet Relish

Relish can be a bit of a polarizing condiment. Some people may appreciate the tang and texture it adds to ketchup and hamburgers, while others avoid the bright green addition at all costs. According to Leite's Culinaria, though sweet pickle relish is often used as a hot dog condiment, it can also be used to sweeten and add crunch to potato salad, burgers, or deviled eggs. If you're crafting a homemade pickle relish recipe, you'll need cucumbers, mustard seeds, seasonings, green bell peppers, water, and vinegar. The vinegar acts as the pickling liquid that gives the relish its signature tangy bite.

When it comes to pickles, cucumbers are probably the first thing that comes to mind. While cucumbers serve as the base for dill or bread and butter pickles, it isn't the only thing that tastes great when pickled. Well+Good notes that veggies and fruits like strawberries, beets, and even onions are great when pickled. Not only are pickled onions easy to make, but it's also a great way to tame the harsh flavor of raw onions. No matter what you pickle, you're going to need some kind of pickling liquid or vinegar. When it comes to making relish, you do have some options if you want to swap out regular vinegar.

Flavored vinegar for pickling

Traditionally, you would use distilled white vinegar as the liquid for sweet relish. However, The Spruce Eats notes that you can swap out distilled vinegar for white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Both kinds of vinegar will still work to pickle the relish without changing the flavor too much. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for other vinegar, though it does have a more sour, fruity flavor (per MasterClass). On the other hand, white wine vinegar is made by fermenting grapes (aka wine), versus white vinegar which is acetic acid and water (via Bolboreta). White wine vinegar is milder and not as harsh as straight distilled vinegar.

If you want to use relish for your backyard barbecue, you'll need to start preparing it way ahead of time. Once all of your vegetables are cut and prepped, the mixture is heavily salted and stored in the fridge for 24 hours. All Recipes notes that the salt helps to draw out the water content. The veggies are boiled with the pickling liquid, then poured into a canning jar. When you're ready to grill up your hot dogs, simply pop open the jar and you're good to go.