End of summer can mean so many different things, right? It’s the official start of school, it’s kids back to college, it’s a nip in the air that wasn’t there before, it’s the last official picnic… it’s Christmas will be here before you know it. Well, it means a lot when you’re talking about food. And with that thought pretty much always at the forefront of where my mind goes, I’m thinking I’d better get some pickles made, or this is definitely not going to happen this year!
So, on this glorious end of summer holiday weekend, we enjoyed a nice appropriate outing – first to the farmers market, then to a local art fair, and THEN a walk on the beach at sunset…. ahhhh. I will remember this day until it’s barefoot season again next year. because even though it is still warm, we start celebrating shorter days now and well, time flies. BUT, I managed to carve out my day in the kitchen! And I knew when I went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday, that Zucchini Pickles needed to happen NOW!
Pickles are so easy to make. I like to make “refrigerator pickles” because I really enjoy the crispness and freshness of the brined coins for as long as they last, foregoing the longer shelf life of the canner processed version I helped my grandmother put up in the summer as a child. I make pickles sans sugar! I like the kosher dill variety of pickles, which basically refers to the New York style of processing vegetables in a salt brine, with the generous addition of dill and garlic.
The Ball Corporation, who produced the first glass canning jars in 1884, gave us these “spring green canning jars” this year, and I think they are so beautiful! Antique jars have become quite expensive, but these lovely new ones are abundantly available to us and a lovely addition to the pantry.
Fresh dill is so nice, and if you toss seeds out into the garden bed every few weeks, you will have these lacy fronds throughout the summer and into the fall. Once they flower, or “go to seed”, the plant will die, so toss out fresh seeds and keep the dill coming in your garden.
I love celebrating the season of bounty at the end of summer by putting pickles by. These pickles should last about 3 months or longer in the refrigerator, hence the name “refrigerator pickles” and the recipe and process is so simple and can be adapted to almost anything in the garden that you want to enjoy just a bit longer.
My annual Labor Day hotdog would not be the same without a pickle on top, and this year it was sooo much better with a fresh from the farmer’s market Zucchini Dill Pickle!
Happy End of Summer!!
- 1½ lb Fresh Summer Zucchini Squash
- ½ small to medium Yellow or Sweet Onion
- 1 whole Carrot
- 5 or 6 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 tsp Yellow Mustard Seed
- 1 tsp Black or Multi-colored Peppercorns
- 2 sprigs Fresh Dill
- 2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 cups Filtered Water
- Wash, dry and slice the zucchini coins. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit and "weep" some of the moisture out of the squash for about 30 minutes.
- Slice the coins of carrot and the onion. Add these vegetables to the zucchini coins and stir to combine.
- Gather seasonings together, including salt, black peppercorns, red pepper flakes, garlic cloves and mustard seed. Stir to combine the seasonings, and add to the sterilized pickle jars, dividing evenly between the jars.
- Pack the jars on top of the seasonings with the vegetables, adding a sprig of dill in the jar as it is packed from bottom to the top.
- In the meantime, heat the apple cider vinegar and water on the stove until it boils. Allow to cool slightly, then pour hot liquid over the packed fruit filled jars.
- Using a dinner knife, run the knife blade around the edge of the jar to release air trapped inside the vegetable coins.
- Cover the jar with it's canning lid and allow to cool on the counter. When the jar has cooled sufficiently, place in the refrigerator for keeping for 3-4 months.