Monday, August 28, 2017

Zucchini Dills

Zucchini Dills are a delicious use for the garden's bounty, and for pickle lovers like me they are a snack morning noon and night!

Zucchini Dills

It's no secret that I am addicted to pickles. At this point in time, I have 6 - 6! jars of them in various formats hanging out in my fridge. While my so-to snacker is still a Bick's ultimate garlic, far and away my favourites are the barrel-cured deli pickles I get to buy once a year at the St. Lawrence Market. Those - and I'm not kidding - can be the size of a child's forearm, and are just riddled with juice. Yes, for the short while they grace my fridge, those are the bomb.

Of course, homemade pickles are excellent in their own right, and I grow the cucumbers and dill to put up a few quarts of them each year. However, this year the rain and the wacky temperatures meant the cucumbers were really slow in getting started... and I wanted some home-pickled goodness! It didn't help that the dill had taken off thanks to the glut of rain and was risking bolting (not that dill seed is bad, just not what I wanted), but I was not willing to shell out for produce that I was too impatient to wait for in my own backyard.

Luckily, about the time the dill took off, the zucchini harvest did too - and we were hauling them in by the bushel. After potfuls of curry, a sizable cake, and two zucchini breads, not to mention baking them into breaded discs and zoodling our lives away, I had to figure out something else to do. I'm not sure how I came by Epicurious' recipe for Zucchini Dill Pickles, but I had to give it a shot. After all, what did I have to lose - and besides, pickles!

I have to say these were way better than I expected. The zucchini is bland enough to take the spices, garlic, dill and vinegar on without much complaint, but it's firm enough that the pickles hold their shape and don't go all "noodley" or mushy. In fact, they stand up admirably to the waterbathing process too - if you let them get that far. Myself, I canned up two big quart jars for storage and made a "tester jar" that hung out in the fridge. I tell you, even if you just keep them in the fridge, wait at least 7 days before eating them. In fact, for better flavour, wait 2.

Zucchini Dills
Makes 2 quarts, 16 servings
2 pounds zucchini, cut into spears
4 tbsp coarse sea salt or pickling salt, divided
4 cups crushed ice
12 fresh dill sprigs
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp dill seeds
¼ tsp saffron threads (optional)
4 garlic cloves, halved
4 Thai chilies, minced (or 1 tsp pepper flakes) - I used 2 chilies and 1 tsp gochugaru
2 ½ cups cider vinegar
  1. Place zucchini in a large bowl and add half the salt and all the ice. 
  2. Add cold water to cover, top with a plate to keep the zucchini submerged, and let sit for 2 hours. Drain well.
  3. Divide dill sprigs and next 7 ingredients between 2 quart jars; set aside.
  4. Bring vinegar, remaining salt, and 1 ¼ cups water to a boil in a large saucepan.
  5. Working in batches, add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until khaki in color and slightly pliable, about 2 minutes.
  6. Using tongs, transfer zucchini to jars.
  7. Divide hot brine between jars to cover zucchini, leaving 1/2" space on top
  8. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  9. Allow at least a week (ideally, 2) to pickle before eating.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 9.0
Total Fat: 0.0 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 12.0 mg
Total Carbs: 2.2 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 0.4 g