The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Zucchini Bread & Butter Pickles

September 19th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Posted in garden, Recipes

Monster squash make a surprisingly good pickle

Monster squash make a surprisingly good pickle

One of the most dangerous things a gardener can do is go away on vacation. You never know what you’ll find when you come back.

The garden does not stop growing while you’re gone. We found this truism to be particularly obvious in the case of our favorite Italian summer squash, which had a habit of becoming almost grotesquely large if you took your eyes off them. Picture a squash as long as your arm and weighing five pounds or more. Truly, we have had some trophy specimens worthy of mounting on the wall.

Surprisingly, squash of this size are still edible, although we were often happier to give them away to friends who actually cooked them. Personally, I despaired of these monsters until I discovered a method of turning them into the most delicious bread and butter pickles. This is something we usually make with cucumbers soaked in lime for extra crispness. The squash version are not soaked in lime, but they are equally delectable. You would never guess they were once squash.

If you are using standard zucchini for this, you can slice them into rounds. For a really large squash, I recommend cutting the squash in half lengthwise and removing the seeds. Then cut the squash into crescent shapes. If the skin seems tough, you can peel it off.

For 4 pounds squash:

2 cups onion, sliced into strips

1/4 cup pickling salt, or fine non-iodized sea salt

3 cups vinegar

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 tablespoons yellow mustard seeds

1 1/2 tablespoon celery seed

1 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Put the squash and onion in a bowl and toss with the salt. Transfer the vegetables into a colander set inside a large bowl and allow to drain for 2 hours.

In a non-reactive pot, combine vinegar, sugar and spices and bring to boil. Add the drained vegetables and bring them to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until the squash look almost translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not overcook. Ladle the vegetables and brine into hot, clean canning jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with new lids and process according to manufacturers instructions in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to ensure a good seal.

Store the jars in a cool, dark place for a month before opening.

Makes approximately four pints.

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  • AmyLynn

    This reminds me of Leave A Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Where I grew up, people leave their car doors locked this time of year, not worried about theft, they’re worried someone will leave a zucchini on the seat!

  • Ed Bruske

    Amy, in our neighborhood, we’re still more concerned about losing our radio than being on the receiving end of fresh produce.