Maurertown resident shares her blue ribbon relish
MAURERTOWN – For Kimberly Ebbert, of Maurertown, her newly acquired passion for canning won her double blue ribbons at both the county and state levels for her relish.
Ebbert is not a Shenandoah county native, so the county fair was a new experience for her.
“I’m from Cape Coral, Florida, where we don’t have things like county fairs,” Ebbert said. “To see the hometown feel of this county fair was just so exciting to me.”
Ebbert said she has only been to the fair twice – this year and last.
“I like to do these sort of things,” she said. “Support my community, that is.”
Introduced to canning and preserving by a neighbor and now friend, Ebbert entered her first fair contests in August. She entered five divisions because she said she wanted a try a little bit of everything. The divisions included open preserves, baking, crops, herbs and clothing.
“I entered 10 items altogether,” Ebbert said. “Seven items won; three of the seven were blue ribbons.”
Ebbert said the excitement of winning at the county fair was overwhelming but welcoming.
“People would stop and congratulate me,” she said. “And I had no idea who they were,” she added with a chuckle.
After her relish won at the county fair, Ebbert said a patron approached her and suggested she enter it into the state fair.
“She told me that because my relish had won a blue ribbon, I was considered a blue county winner,” Ebbert said. After some quick fundraising, Ebbert packed her relish up and shipped it to Richmond, where it was placed in the Pickles category and won a first-place ribbon.
Ebbert is proud of her relish. “It’s the first item I learned to can,” she said.
All of the ingredients in her relish are locally sourced.
“I grew the onions and green peppers myself,” she said. The relish juice is made from organic sugar and organic apple cider vinegar.
“It’s a sweet relish,” Ebbert said.
Next year the fair will be celebrating 101 years; Ebbert plans on celebrating by entering 101 items. “It’s free and I really enjoy it,” she said. “Plus it is good for the county.”
Kimberly’s Blue Ribbon Relish
4 cups organic cukes, de-seeded and chopped.
2 cups organic onions, peeled and chopped.
2 cups organic peppers, chopped (any color).
1/4 cup kosher salt.
3 1/2 cups organic sugar.
2 cups organic vinegar.
Organic celery seeds.
Organic mustard seeds.
Place all cut vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Cover salted vegetables with water and let stand for two or more hours. Drain vegetables and press out as much liquid as possible. In a large pot combine sugar, vinegar and seeds. Bring to a boil. Once boiling add drained vegetables. Bring back to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Use Ball method for preparing jars, lids and rings if canning. Use slotted spoon to transfer relish to prepared jars, adding desired amount of brine to each with a ladle. Ball recommends hot water bath for 10 minutes using pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.