Every year, without fail, we have a bumper crop of zucchini. There is so much that we have become accustomed to using it in different ways. Storing it for later use as Spicy Garlic Zucchini Pickles is one of the ways that we have learned to not only preserve it but make a tasty and unique addition for our relish plates during the upcoming holiday seasons.
Pickles are a strange thing in our household. Redneck loves them and eats them often, however, I’m more of a sweet pickle kind of gal. I lean toward relish for my sandwiches more than pickles too. I guess I have to admit to being a little weird on my food tastes. Having more than just a few ways to store and use our zucchini crop is a necessity. I really hate having it go to waste. Worse yet, I hate having it rot on my kitchen counter, attract gnats, and then have to try not to gag as I pack it out to the field for disposal.
Zucchini Pickles Heritage
I am by no means the inventor of the zucchini pickle. Or zucchini relish. I grew up with grandparents who had two full-acre gardens, one for each of them. It was a running joke to see who’s would produce better each year. One was on the north side of the house, the other on the south side. Each year, not only their ability to keep up with the garden, fertilize, water, etc., determined their success. Weather conditions and how the sun tracked based on cloud cover and cold fronts came into play. It was so much fun to watch and see what happened to the different vegetable in each garden.
Because of all this “competition”, they had to find ways to preserve their harvest. Especially the mounds of zucchini. I remember helping shred, blanch, freeze, can and so many things that I helped with but really couldn’t tell you what in the devil Grandma was really doing with it. It’s amazing how sometimes the memories of things are in spurts.
I took the basic recipe for zucchini pickles and altered it to give it a little more kick with this recipe.
Redneck loves a little spice to his food. It could be garlic, or jalapeno, or just some good ole Tobasco. I, on the other hand, steer clear of the heat in food. Not because I don’t like it. I have acid reflux according to the doctor but refuse to be medicated on such a regular basis. Stick around A Hippy and a Redneck… you will learn my abhorrence of Big Pharma for sure.
Prepping Your Zucchini
I try to wait until later in the season to process my zucchini pickles. The longer the plant produces, the quicker they seem to ripen. I like making zucchini pickles from the crop that is more along the size of a large cucumber.
My preferred method of cleaning is to soak my vegetables in a cold water bath in my sink. I rinse all of the squash, lay them in the clean sink, cover them with cold water and add in a splash of distilled white vinegar. The vinegar helps clean out the imperfections in the skin of the zucchini and repels any little bugs that may be hiding there.
I let these soak for about 45 minutes to an hour, just to make sure things work properly.
Leaving the skin intact, I cut off the ends of the zucchini, and then quarter lengthways into spears. As I cut, I attempt to be mindful of length in relation to my canning jars. I attempt to keep them all at the same height so that they pack into the jars uniformly.
Always be careful when handling hot brine and jars. I like to use silicone mitts to keep from burning myself, as I am somewhat accident prone. (Ok, according to Redneck, I’m just clumsy.)
My Canning Advice
Using a water bath canning is a great starting method for those new to canning. I always recommend water bath canning first to get a feel for the process. Pressure canning is a bit more dangerous for the novice canner. Get comfortable with your water bath method before moving on to the pressure canner.
Spicy Garlic Zucchini Pickles Recipe
Spicy Garlic Zucchini Pickles
Preserve your zucchini harvest with this bold, spicy variation of a pickle that is a great addition to your relish plates.
- 1/2 bushel zucchini scrubbed, soaked, and quartered
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 5 tbsp pickling salt
- 2-3 tbsps pickling spice
- dried dill weed
- 8-10 small jalapeno peppers (or peppers of your choice) split with seeds intact
- 20-30 whole garlic cloves peeled and lightly smashed
Prepare your jars and lids for canning.
In a large stock pot, bring both kinds of vinegar, water, and salt to a simmer.
To each jar add pickling spice (2-3 tbsps), 2-3 fronds of dill weed, 2-3 pepper pieces (to personal taste), and 4-5 cloves of garlic.
Pace the zucchini into the jars so they are tight but aren't damaged. Make sure they sit in below the neck of the jar.
Pour the brine into the jars leaving 1/2" headspace.
Wipe the rims of the jars and place the lids and rings on top. Avoid touching the sealing area of the lid. Tighten well but do not overtighten.
Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on the counter.
Store in a dry, cool place. Let age approximately 7-10 days for full infusion of flavors.
Label and store up to 1 year.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of these amazingly kicked up Zucchini Pickles! Let me know if you try it and how you alter it to accommodate your own family’s personal tastes.