Yowza! That’s the word of the month. A little while back, you wouldn’t find me in the kitchen due to how much gardening I had to do. I took every shortcut and pulled out all my tricks for lots of quick meals since time was too precious to waste. But now that things have settled down, the plants are busy doing their growing thing and the next event is a few weeks away, I can relax and enjoy being inside again. I decide it’s time to find a few new recipes to tackle since I have a booming garden and meals are practically free. Makes the homesteader in me very proud. I take a (leisurely) stroll in my garden and see this:
Zucchini and lots of it. Not to mention four bushes packed with ready-to-go jalapenos, buckets of red and yellow onions, a basket full of crookneck squash, plums just falling off the tree and Swiss chard to last for days and days. Looks like I have some canning to do. Like I said before, yowza.
I’m in full “put ‘em up” mode, so I think for this post I’ll concentrate on pickling. We love anything pickled. And you can’t get through summertime and barbecuing without them. At least I can’t. The plums will become jammy, so that’s easy. And I’ll just blanch the chard, portion it out for soups and stews, and then freeze it for later. And so that brings us to the squash, peppers and onions.
Peppery/Garlicky Zucchini Pickles
Enough sliced zucchini to fill 7 pint jars
4 cups water
3 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup canning/pickling salt
Thick-sliced or whole cloves of garlic
Crushed red pepper
Sterilize your jars and pack each one with zucchini, several garlic cloves (per jar), a dash or two of crushed red pepper (per jar) and a dash or two of black peppercorns (per jar).
In the meantime, heat the water, vinegar and salt to a simmer and stir occasionally (you want the salt to dissolve). Then pour the mixture over the zucchini to fill it to 1/2 inch headspace. Use the water bath method for canning for 10 minutes. Let the zukes develop flavor over the next 4-6 weeks before diving in. Or, simply pop them into the fridge and wait a month.
This originates from a pickled cucumber recipe (here) that called for apple cider vinegar (which I kinda like but not as much as basic white vinegar) so I switched it. But I always put a bit less because it’s strong. That’s why this only makes 7 pints. The original recipe also called for dill seed (not available so I left it out) but I do plan to try some of the fresh dill that I’m growing at some point in the future.
Easy Pickled Jalapenos
I have a confession: I actually made only 6 pints of zucchini pickles before I switched out one of them for a bunch of jalapeno peppers. I just used the same brine and omitted the spices. I love pickled peppers (on everything!) and they don’t need any extra enhancements (in my opinion) other than a clove or two of garlic. Use the instructions above for canning or stick them into the fridge for a month before using. Other peppers that are great for canning include Banana, Hungarian Hot Wax, Poblano, and especially Red Bells. Yum!