Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pickled Zucchini

So, when I got the CSA email on Friday it said we would be getting 3 lbs of green beans. Obviously it was time to can some green beans, so Emily and I scheduled a canning date. She would bring the peaches, I would bring the beans and it would be fantastic. Imagine my surprise when I got to the pick up and they were handing out .3 lbs of green beans. Just in case you missed the decimal point, that is three tenths of a pound of green beans. This is considerably less that three pounds. Not enough to can. With Emily already on her way down, I had to make a quick decision. I ran to the farmer's market, picked up some more zucchini and we were in business.

My three jars. I took the picture after Em took hers home.
Now, those of you who know me well are probably wondering why I'm making pickles. I am notorious for wiping my plate with a napkin to remove the pickle juice and keep it from touching my burger or deli sandwich. There are people who enjoy going to burger joints with me because they always get my pickles.

This sort of sums up my general reaction to deli/burger joint dills: A few years ago I was on a date and after spotting the pastor of my church at The Frying Pan and quickly fleeing (do I have to justify this? I mean, come on. 1--she was wearing so much eye makeup...2--would you want to introduce your pastor to your summer fling? I don't think so), thinking about seeing a movie and then deciding that nothing good was playing, we ended up at Dumont Burger. At the time one of their specialty cocktails was a Dirty Pickle Martini (yes, it is like a dirty martini except with pickle juice instead of olive juice). My date was so entertained by the face I made when he read "pickle juice" off the menu that he just kept repeating it. Charming (actually, it was a bit...there must be something wrong with me...). Thank goodness he still thought it was cute when I made the same face after he kissed me and he tasted like pickles. Of course I got some mileage out of the fact that server walked up behind us and asked "Would you ladies like to start with some beverages", so we were about even.

I often wondered if my dislike of pickles came from the same place as my (now nonexistent) dislike of olives and Brussles sprouts--the fact that my mom doesn't like them so we never ate them growing up. Or maybe it's because of the stories I heard about the "extra ingredient" that the boys from my high school that worked at the burger place out by the lake would add to the pickle brine. So I have tried some (presumably untainted) pickles. It turns out that I like pickled things. I just don't like NY Deli pickles. I don't like any of the varieties of supermarket pickles. I like pickles with a sweet-salty brine and made with good-tasting vinegar. There are some of the pickles from Rick's Picks and McClure's that I like. Maybe I'm a pickle snob? I do like fried pickles, because most things are delicious if you fry them.

Pickled Zucchini
Adapted from a number of excellent sources on canning and pickling, including Ashley English's Canning and Preserving

about 2 lbs zucchini, sliced
2 onions, quartered and sliced
1/2 c pickling salt
2 1/4 c white wine vinegar
2 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2  c water
6 sprigs dill
6 garlic cloves
36 black peppercorns
mustard seeds
celery seeds

6 pint-sized canning jars

Place zucchini slices and onions in a large bowl. Pour the salt over them. Fill the bowl with cold water to cover. Refrigerate for about 2 hours (we canned peaches while this was going on). After two hours, drain and rinse with cold water

Sterilize the jars in a canner. Prepare lids, rings, and other canning tools.

Place vinegars, sugar and water in a large non-reactive pot (I used my enameled cast-iron). Bring to a boil. Add the zucchini and let stand for a few minutes, keeping the liquid at a simmer.

Prepare the jars for filling: add a sprig of dill, a clove of garlic, 6 peppercorns, 1/2 t mustard seeds and 1/4 t celery seeds to each jar. Using a slotted spoon, begin filling the jars with the zucchini, packing as you go. Ladle in the liquid, leaving 1/2" of head space.  Run a non-metallic spatula around the inside of the jar to remove any air bubbles. Check the head space again. Wipe the rims of the jars, put the lids on and tighten the screw bands until finger tight. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath (We're at about sea level. Consult another source to find out what is appropriate for your elevation).

Remove the jars and let them cool for about 24 hrs. Check for a seal. If the jars have not sealed properly either reprocess or put in the fridge and eat within 2 weeks.

Always follow USDA guidelines when canning or pickling foods. If you've never pickled anything at home before, please consult a reliable source on how to do it properly before you follow any recipe. This is a fairly bare-bones recipe that assumes you know the basics of canning and preserving foods.

1 comment:

  1. Very very interesting, I love pickles but never heard of nor tried pickled zucchini


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