Its that time of year....for those gardeners out there, when you're picking more than you can eat. It's a great feeling, having an abundance of fresh vegetables. Friends and family get to benefit from our gardens generosity as well, as we hand out our 'spoils' by the bagful.
It's also a time when we're racking our brains trying to figure out exactly what we're going to do with it all. Sure, there are Squash Casseroles, Zucchini Bread, fried zucchini and squash, Zucchini Pancakes, Zucchini and Potato Pancakes and many more. But what about the future? Something that we can make now and eat....later. Maybe when we're not so....zucchini and squashed out. You know?
I made Summer Squash Pickles a few weeks ago. My first pickling experience. It's from a recipe in The Homesick Texan. It was so easy that it got me to thinking.....hmmm.....pickling and canning. Maybe I should start venturing into that arena. There's a lot of it going on right about now. Sure...I've made a few freezer jams and that was easy. But canning? Pickling? Wooo, there's a little science involved there, right? I mean..there's pickling, hot water baths, pressure cooking, ooooh lord. Kinda intimidating.
Until you talk to a few pros. Which I did over on my Facebook fan page. They took the scary out of it and encouraged me. I even bought a cookbook (that's always exciting), Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Oh, and Guess what? I don't need any special tools. Sure, they'll help. Someday. When I have the time to find a store that sells them. But I have a large stock pot, and thats all I need really. Besides the jars and some dish towels. And the veggies.....
Summer Squash Pickles
1 lb yellow squash, sliced into 1/4" rounds
1 lb zucchini, sliced into 1/4" rounds
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
2 tsp dill seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp peppercorn
1/2 cup water
2 cups white vinegar
2 TB kosher salt
2 pint sized jars or 1 quart sized jar, with lids and bands.
You might notice that I added some things to my veggie mix. Sliced onions, a couple of poblano peppers and a banana pepper. That did alter my veggie volume. I doubled my seasonings and vinegar, water and salt and just rolled with it.
Clean and sterilize your jars and lids. Using tongs, place them on a clean surface.
Divide your veggies (squash, zucchini and garlic) and pack them into your jars.
In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, salt and water to a boil. Pour the boiling mixture into each jar, leaving a little head room. Cover with lids and fasten with bands. Set them off to the side to cool for about 4 hours.
At this time you can eat them or just place them in the fridge to pickle a bit more. They should be consumed within a month.
And that's it. I did have to run a knife around the inside of the jar before I placed the lids on. There were air bubbles in there.
They are very vinegary.....and soooo delicious. I haven't done anything with them other than eat them straight out of the jar. They'd probably be a nice addition to a pasta salad of sorts. Or even chopped up and added to a big fat juicy hot dog. hmm....maybe that's what I'll do for dinner tonight. See? Just talking to you all inspires me.