Zucchini Pickles Two Ways

Left: Spicy Zucchini Pickles    Right: Garlic Dill Zucchini Pickles

My garden zucchini plants went bonkers this year. I’ve already made zucchini apples (a favorite around here), zucchini boats, and several zucchini-enhanced baked goods. With the last of my garden zucchini – because I am uprooting the plants to make room for a late crop of onions – I’m making Easy Zucchini Pickles.

Crisp and tangy, these pickles will stand up to any cucumber pickle, I promise. Let’s get started!

Ingredients (Makes approximately 4 quarts)

2 large (approximately 16 inch) or 3 medium (approximately 12 inch) zucchini

4 cups water

4 cups white vinegar

3/4 cup salt

1/4 cup white sugar

16 cloves garlic, peeled and halved

For garlic dill pickles: 16 heads of fresh dill -or-
For spicy pickles: 12 Thai chili peppers, scored lengthwise

Directions

Step 1) Wash zucchini and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seeds. Slice Zucchini halves crosswise into 3/4 inch slices, then cut each slice into 2 inch pieces. Set zucchini pieces aside in a large bowl.

Step 2) In a large pot, combine water, vinegar, salt, sugar, and garlic. Bring brine mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to simmer.

Step 3) Pack zucchini pieces into sterilized quart jars, layering a head of dill (or a chili pepper), about 1 cup of zucchini, and about 1/2 cup of brine at a time. Don’t be afraid to really stuff the zucchini into the jar, 1 cup at a time! The back of a tablespoon can be useful for packing zucchini.

Step 4) Leave 1/2 inch head space at the top of each jar (no zucchini should be “poking up” into that last 1/2 inch of space). Make sure zucchini is covered in brine, and tap the jar (or poke with a chopstick) to remove air bubbles.

Step 5) Cover each jar with a sterilized lid and band. For refrigerator pickles, place jars in the fridge. For canning, place jars in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.

Your zucchini pickles will taste best after one week. Enjoy!

Garlic Rosemary Refrigerator Pickles

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If you’ve never made pickles, what are you waiting for? If you can slice cucumbers into bite size pieces and boil water, you have all of the skills you need to make scrumptious homemade pickles! You don’t even need to fuss with canning jars – just place your pickles in any resealable container in the refrigerator, and wait a week. Voila! Delicious.

This recipe uses garlic and rosemary instead of dill, for a flavor that’s refreshingly different from store-bought pickles. Let me know what you think!

WIN_20160725_160826Ingredients (Makes 2 quarts)

8 cups of bite size cucumber chunks Continue reading

Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind

WIN_20160420_175431Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind is an old school recipe which hails back to the Great Depression, when nothing was wasted. Depression era cooks were creative, not because it was chic but because it was necessary. Children love the sweet, tangy taste of these pickles right from the jar. Grown-ups love them as bacon wrapped party snacks, broiled and enjoyed while hot. However you enjoy them, I can guarantee that once you’ve sampled Sweet Pickled Watermelon Rind, you’ll never look at a whole watermelon quite the same way again!

WIN_20160418_191438Ingredients (Makes about 4 pint jars)

Rind from one large watermelon

1/2 cup salt

6 cups cold water Continue reading

Inside Out Bloody Marys

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This just might be the easiest item to prepare on your entire party buffet… and the most popular! Who doesn’t love a good Bloody Mary? Sure, the spicy, tomato based vodka beverage is tasty, but everyone knows the best part of a well made Bloody Mary is the garnish. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we ran with that idea and created Inside Out Bloody Marys. The beverage itself is shot sized and potent, accompanied by an assortment of excellent pickled vegetables. Rock On!

Ingredients (Serves 12)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) spicy Bloody Mary mix, chilled (Preservation and Co. Bloody Mary Mix 32 Oz. Jar)

12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) good quality vodka, chilled

1 cup of pickled mushrooms

1 cup of pickled beans (Tabasco Beans, Spicy, 16 Ounce)

1 cup of pickled okra (TABASCO Spicy Pickled Okra 12 oz. jar)

Double (3 ounce) shot glasses

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Directions

OK, friends – this is easy enough to prepare even if you’ve already enjoyed a full size Bloody Mary or three.  😉  Begin by arranging your relishes in the center of a party platter. If you want more than three options, go for it. Try thick slices of dill pickles, ginger pickled carrots, garlic stuffed green olives, rosemary pickled cherry tomatoes, etc.

Next, arrange your shot glasses on the outer edge of the party platter. Fill your shot glasses half full with chilled vodka, and top with chilled Bloody Mary mix. Serve immediately!

 

Easy Bread and Butter Pickles

WIN_20150830_135132Somewhere in between the sweetness of sweet gherkins and the saltiness of dill pickles lives bread and butter pickles. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we think they’re delicious!

Some bread and butter pickle recipes are fussy, requiring cooks to soak cucumbers for long periods of time and/or change brines throughout the process. In our humble opinion, none of that is really necessary. You can prepare these bread and butter pickles in less than half an hour, and be on with your day!

If you don’t want to can these, no worries – just stop after Step 1 below and transfer your pickles and brine into refrigerator containers. Refrigerate for at least one week and up to one month.

WIN_20150830_130254Ingredients (Makes 4 pints)

8 cups small cucumbers, cut into bite size chunks

1 small white onion, sliced thin

2 cups white vinegar

WIN_20150830_1304352 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon sweet curry powder, such as Organic Sweet Curry Powder (Salt Free)

Directions

WIN_20150830_133949Step 1) Bring vinegar, sugar, salt, and curry powder to a boil. Add cucumber chunks and sliced onion. Return to a boil, then remove from heat.

Step 2) Ladle pickles into sterilized pint size canning jars and top with brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Top with lids and rims, and process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.

Pickled Mini Tomatoes

WIN_20150812_110518If you have a bumper crop of miniature tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes or pear tomatoes, give this recipe a whirl. Salty, tangy, and laced with rosemary, this recipe is delicious served with French bread or as a Bloody Mary garnish. Pretty jars of Pickled Mini Tomatoes make great gifts, too!

WIN_20150812_105501Ingredients (Makes 3 pints)

3 cups assorted cherry tomatoes and/or pear tomatoes (any color)

3 small cucumbers, about 3-4 inches long, sliced thin

4 cloves garlic, sliced thin

WIN_20150812_1055072 cups white vinegar

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon whole peppercorns

Directions

Step 1) Combine tomatoes, cucumbers, and garlic in a large bowl. Divide evenly between three sterilized, pint size jars.

Step 2) Combine vinegar, water, sugar, salt, rosemary, and peppercorns in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil gently for 10 minutes.

WIN_20150812_110046Step 3) Using a wide mouth funnel, pour brine into jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Run a knife or canning tool along the inside of each jar to remove air bubbles. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Be sure to review Crowded Earth Kitchen’s safe canning guidelines!

Not interested in canning? No problem! Simply place your tomato mixture in any jar or container appropriate for the refrigerator. Pour brine over tomatoes and refrigerate for at least a week! As long as you keep the tomatoes covered with brine, they will last a month in the refrigerator.

Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

WIN_20150725_145038Today I found about a dozen small (3 inches or so) cucumbers in my garden… perfect for pickles, but not enough of them to bother with canning. Instead, I quickly made a quart of Refrigerator Pickles. In one week, they’ll be crisp and delicious. Try a jar today!

WIN_20150725_144030Ingredients (Makes 1 quart jar)

Approximately 12 small cucumbers (about 3 inches long)

1 cup water

1 cup white vinegar

3 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

3 cloves garlic

1 small hot pepper (Jalapeno or other hot chili pepper)

WIN_20150725_144557Directions

Step 1) Wash cucumbers and slice 1/8 inch off of each end. Pack cucumbers in a clean, quart size jar.

Step 2) Crush garlic with the flat side of a knife and add garlic to the jar.

Step 3) Slice hot pepper lengthwise from the bottom, leaving the stem end in tact. Add hot pepper to the jar.

Step 4) In a small saucepan, bring water, vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and carefully pour into jar over cucumbers. Cover and allow to cool before placing jar in the refrigerator.

Enjoy in one week!

Nectarines Marinées (French Pickled Nectarines)

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Pickled nectarines?” Why yes, of course!  The French, who were so kind as to share their exquisitely potent cornichons with the rest of us, have made a delightful habit of pickling all sorts of wonderful things.  Fruit trees are abundant in much of France, as you can see from the sampling of roadside photos, below:

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Pears

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Plums

Nectarines are plentiful in France… for a very short period of time.  Unlike apples, nectarines do not store well.  To enjoy nectarines into the autumn season they must be sliced and frozen, canned, or – yes – pickled.  Give it a try!  This recipe is super easy, has a pleasing sweet and tangy flavor, and makes a fanciful gift.  Bon Appetit! 

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Pickled Nectarines

WIN_20140823_185945Ingredients (Makes 3 pint jars)

12 ripe nectarines

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 cups white vinegar

1 cup water

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 cinnamon sticks

9 whole cloves

Directions

WIN_20140823_193603Step 1) Peel nectarines.  This step is optional, and you may want to skip it if your nectarines are on the crisp side.  If your nectarines are very ripe, though, removing the peel will prevent the peel from separating in the canning jars later (not harmful, but looks unsightly).  To peel nectarines, simply place each nectarine in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Remove and immediately place in a bowl of ice water.  When cool, lift nectarines from ice water and score the peel with a paring knife.  The peel will practically slide right off.

Step 2) Slice nectarines into eight pieces each.  Place sliced peaches in a large bowl of cold water.  Add 1/4 cup lemon juice.  It doesn’t really matter how much water is in the bowl; you’re simply using the bowl of water and lemon juice to keep your nectarine slices from oxidizing, or turning brown.

Step 3) Combine 2 cups vinegar, 1 cup water, and 2 1/2 cups sugar in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring to make sure all sugar is dissolved.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and add nectarines.

Step 4) After 1 minute, remove pot from heat and ladle nectarines and brine into sterilized canning jars. Place 1 cinnamon stick and 3 cloves in each jar.  Leave 1/2 inch of headspace.  Cover with lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool, and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.  [You could skip this step entirely and just place your nectarines and brine in the refrigerator, where they will stay fresh for 1 month.]

 

 

Easy Vietnamese Pickles

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These zippy, crunchy little pickles are traditionally called Do Chua, which translates literally as “by sour” from Vietnamese.  Made from carrot, daikon (a jumbo size member of the radish family), and galangal (similar to ginger, but more pungent), these pickles are delicious on salads, on sandwiches, or right out of the jar!  It only takes a few minutes to whip up a few jars of this lovely summer condiment.  Enjoy!

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Daikon and Carrots

Ingredients (makes 3 pints)

1 1/2 cups carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks

3 cups daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks

1 tablespoon minced fresh galangal root (or substitute ginger)

For the brine:

2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon salt

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Fresh Galangal Root

 

3 tablespoons vinegar (chili vinegar, if possible)

Directions

Step 1) Distribute carrot, daikon, and galangal evenly between three, pint size mason jars.

Step2) Combine brine ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until sugar and salt are dissolved.

Step 3) Ladle brine into jars.  Fill jars within 1/2 inch of top.

Step 4) Refrigerate for up to three months.  Wait at least one week to enjoy, for maximum flavor!

 

Ginger Pickled Vegetables

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Ginger Picked Vegetables is a super easy canning recipe, and offers a quick and tasty way of preserving a few pounds of vegetables.  Go ahead and take advantage of that great sale at the market, or plant an extra row in your garden!  You’ll love these vegetables in stir-fry dinners, or right out of the jar.

Ingredients (makes 6 pint jars)

4 pounds of pickling vegetables (carrots, beans, radishes, zucchini, and small onions work well)

1 cup of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into pieces resembling matchsticks

1 tablespoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1 tablespoon salt

2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup honey

3 cups water

3 cups white vinegar

Directions

Step 1) Combine all ingredients except for pickling vegetables and ginger in a large pot.  Bring to a gentle boil, stirring so that the sugar doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.  Reduce heat and simmer for another minute or two, until all of the sugar is dissolved.

Step 2) Line up 6 sterilized, pint size jars.  Pack the ginger and vegetables into the jars, being careful to distribute the ginger evenly between the jars.  Really pack the vegetables in tightly, but be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace (no less!) at the top.  If your vegetables touch the top, the jars won’t seal!

Step 3) Carefully ladle the hot liquid into your jars.  Poke out air bubbles, clean the rims of the jars with a damp cloth, and seal with lids and bands.

Step 4) Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Best flavors are attained after 1 month.  Jars should keep for a year, but remember to always test the lids before eating canned goods!  In my opinion, this recipe tastes best when only one variety of vegetable goes into each jar.  You may feel differently.  Which varieties of vegetables will you try?  Let me know how your Ginger Pickled Vegetables turn out!