Three types of relishes are used here to accompany Nshima (in the top right), a cornmeal product in African cuisine
A relish is a cooked and pickled product made of chopped vegetables, fruits or herbs, and is a food item typically used as a condiment, in particular to enhance a staple. Examples are chutneys and the North American relish, a pickled cucumber jam eaten with hot dogs or hamburgers. In North America, the word "relish" is frequently used to describe a single variety of finely-chopped pickled cucumber relish, such as pickle, dill and sweet relishes. Such relishes are commonly used as a condiment, and pickle relish is an important ingredient in many varieties of the U.S. version of tartar sauce.
Relish generally consists of discernible vegetable or fruit pieces in a sauce, although the sauce is subordinate in character to the vegetable or fruit pieces. Herbs may also be used, and some relishes, such as chermoula, are prepared entirely using herbs and spices. Relish can consist of a single type of vegetable or fruit, or a combination of these. These fruits or vegetables might be coarsely or finely chopped, and the texture of relish can vary depending on the style of slicing used for its solid ingredients, but generally a relish is not as smooth as a sauce-type condiment, such as ketchup. The overall taste sensation might be sweet, savory, mild or hot, but it typically has a strong flavor that complements or adds to the primary food item with which it is served.
The English word "chutney" originated in India. Relish probably came about from the need to preserve vegetables in the winter, and it may have originated in India.
In the United States, the most common commercially available relishes are made from pickled cucumbers and are known in the food trade as pickle relishes. Pickle relish is one of the most commonly used spreads in the U.S. Two variants of this are hamburger relish (pickle relish in a ketchup base or sauce) and hot dog relish (pickle relish in a mustard base or sauce). Another readily available commercial relish in the U.S. is corn (maize) relish.Heinz, Vlasic, and Claussen are well known in the U.S. as producers of pickled cucumbers and pickle relishes.Chicago-style relish is a sweet pickle relish that is a standard ingredient on the Chicago-style hot dog.