Monday, August 2, 2010

Z is For Zucchini

It is high summer here in upstate New York and it requires a couple of colanders to make the rounds of the garden each day, harvesting the abundance of vegetables and herbs that are flinging forth from the Crispy Garden. Zucchini plants are always fecund producers, so we've been enjoying lots of sauteed grated zucchini with butter, garlic and basil, zucchini stewed with tomatoes and basil and loading up the freezer with packages of grated, squeezed out zucchini so we can get our summer squash fix in the depth of winter.

While I've made other zucchini relishes and pickles before, I had never tried making a classic bread-and-butter pickle recipe using my garden squash bounty, but since we had a let up in the hazy, steamy weather this past week, I boiled up a vat o' water and got into canning mode. After perusing my canning library for inspiration, here's what I made:

Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles

14 cups zucchini, trimmed and sliced into 1/4 inch slices

1/2 cup pickling salt

6 cups white vinegar

3-1/2 cups sugar

4 tsp. brown mustard seeds

2 tsp. celery seeds

6 dill heads

Layer zucchini slices with pickling salt in a big ceramic bowl. Cover with water, cover and let stand for at least 2 hours.

Drain zucchini and rinse salt off with cold water. Pat dry.

Make pickling brine in a large stainless steel or porcelain sauce pot. Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seeds. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add zucchini slices and stir to coat with brine. Cover pot and let stand at least one hour (or overnight).

Sterilize 6 pint canning jars in a big hot water bath. Bring zucchini slices in brine to a boil and then pack into hot jars, popping in a dill head in each (I pop them in the middle of the jar). Fill jars to within 1/2 inch of top of each jar. Tap gently to remove bubbles, then seal and process in hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove from hot water bath and leave to seal by themselves overnight. Refrigerate any jars that haven't sealed properly.

Makes 6 pints.

These pickles came out very well. The zucchini is nice and snappy after the salting and the brine is sweet and tangy like a good sweet pickle should be. Perfect.

For other zucchini harvest ideas, take a look at these recipes from the Crispy Vault:

Zucchini Trifolati

Zucchini Pizza on Gluten-Free Crust

Spicy Zucchini Relish

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Zucchini and Cilantro

Cream of Ratatouille Soup

Spinach-Zucchini Soup with Fennel Seed

Nightshade Ragout

Zucchini Tonic

I'm sending this vegetable contribution over to Katie at EAT THIS!, a fellow gluten-free food blogger and gastronomic adventurer who's hosting this week's round of Weekend Herb Blogging. You can find out more about this weekly food event at the Australian headquarters of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once. Look for an interesting roundup of vegetastic recipes and posts after the Sunday deadline over at EAT THIS!

1 comment:

Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

i'm always looking for ways to eat zucchini. i love it.