The summer zucchini crop is arriving at Brooklyn farmers markets, and this is a great vegetable to substitute for cucumbers when making bread and butter pickles. Zucchini retains the same crunch and crispness as cucumber when pickled, but it has an earthier flavor that makes it a great addition to sandwiches. And it goes great with cheap beer, as do most pickles. I adapted a recipe from The Joy of Pickling here, by cutting quantities in half and adding hot pepper flakes to complement the sweetness. Sure, the apartment stinks liked boiled vinegar, but in three weeks we’ll have two mason jars full of bread and butter zucchini.
Makes about 2.5 pints
- 2 pounds zucchini, 1 inch in diameter, sliced into 3/16-inch rounds (about 1 quart)
- 1/2 pound small onions, sliced into thin rounds (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup pickling salt (sea salt works well)
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons whole yellow mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole celery seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Put the zucchini and onions into a bowl and toss the vegetables with the salt. Cover the vegetables with ice cubes from 2 ice trays. Let the vegetables stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
Drain the vegetables well. In a nonreactive pot (stainless steel is best here), bring to a boil the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Add the vegetables and, over medium heat, slowly bring them to a boil, stirring frequently. Simmer them for 5 to 7 minutes, until the bright skin of the zucchini turns olive.
Ladle the vegetables and liquid into pint mason jars – sterilize in very hot water in the sink first – leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Close the jars with hot two-piece caps. No need to hot water process, you can stick them in the fridge for 3 weeks before eating the pickles. After opening a jar, store it in the refrigerator.