One of the best buys at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is zucchini because it’s been a banner year for this summer squash. People are always looking for zucchini recipes, but may not consider pickling zucchini. The most commonly used vegetable for pickling is cucumber, but the pickling process can be used for many other vegetables.
Pickling is a food preservation method that relies on vinegar to acidify vegetables. This prevents the growth of bacteria, which produce botulism in vegetables that are processed in a boiling water canner. Years ago home-makers didn’t have pressure canners to create a high enough temperature to kill the bacteria, so they relied on the boiling water canning method. The only safe way to process vegetables in a boiling-water canner is to first pickle them.
Pickling is easier than you might think. Follow the recipe below to pickle zucchini. Quart size canning jars and boiling-water canners can be purchased at most grocery and department stores that sell kitchen equipment or at farm supply stores.
If you’ve never canned food before, go to the National Center for Home Food Preservation web site, www.homefoodpreservation.com, and click on the “How do I can?” section to learn about general canning instructions and using a boiling-water canner. This is the most reliable source for safe and accurate instructions and recipes for all types of food preservation methods. Videos at this web site can be used for self-tutorials.
Pickled Bread-And-Butter Zucchini
16 cups fresh zucchini*, sliced
4 cups onions*, thinly sliced
1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
4 cups white vinegar (5%)
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons mustard seed
2 tablespoons celery seed
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
Cover zucchini and onion slices with 1 inch of water and salt. Let stand 2 hours and drain thoroughly. Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices. Bring to a boil and add zucchini and onions. Simmer 5 minutes and fill jars with mixture and pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
Makes about 8-9 pints
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.