Vidalia Onion and Bell Pepper Relish

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes


    1 pint jars

Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Paired with tangy green bell peppers and spices, sweet, juicy Vidalia onions have been turned into a delectable relish throughout Georgia and the neighboring states ever since the distinctive onion was cultivated in and around Vidalia, Georgia, some sixty-five years ago. (It’s believed that the low percentage of sulfur in the area’s soil is what makes the onion so sweet.) Recipes for the relish vary enormously, but this one from a lady in Macon is the best I’ve tried. Spoon a little on your next hot dog and you’ll see what I mean. Be sure to extract as much liquid from the onions and peppers as possible; if not, the relish could be too runny.


  • 5 pounds Vidalia onions
  • 1 small green bell pepper, seeded
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Cayenne pepper to taste


Grate the onions and bell pepper coarsely into a large mixing bowl, add the salt, stir well, and let stand for about 30 minutes. Using paper towels, squeeze the onions and bell pepper till they’re almost dry and place in a large stainless-steel or enameled pot. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, till most of the liquid has evaporated and the relish is thickened, about 30 minutes.

Pack the relish into four 1-pint sterilized jars to within ¼ inch of the tops, seal, and store for at least 1 month before serving.