Sharing with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday’s, Katherines Corner, MamaLDiane and Growing Home today.
In a “pickle” about what to do with excess summer squash?
Canning is a lot of work and timing is very important. How I did this with 3 small children running around amazes me. Today it takes all my energy to make one batch of a rather simple pickled squash. I must have been “super mom”! I mean gathering all the equipment, sterilizing jars and lids, measuring all the ingredients so they can be added at the proper time, filling jars, sealing them, processing and removing from the water bath at the right time. There could have been no “emergencies” during that time. You sure can’t do it all during nap time. Amazed!
Preserving, canning, or freezing is a good way to save money by using what is plentiful and at the best price during the summer to have to use in the winter when I’m not sure where some of those fruits and vegetables come from. One year I decided to make peach marmalade from all the peaches available in Austin. So I gathered all my ingredients, tools (which I had none of these, but I would use them again!) and set to making peach marmalade (to save money, remember?) Until I flipped on the garbage disposal and it ground to a halt. A pit had somehow escaped and hidden in that piece of equipment. No money saving there. Squash has very small, soft seeds so I had no worries about that mistake this time.
I still have an excessive amount of squash coming on my vines and it rained yesterday, so more is to come, I bet. I found a recipe my mom gave me for pickled squash. I made a couple of substitutions – red chile flakes for turmeric. I know it makes the color more vibrant yellow, but is seems to have a perfume too. I don’t care for that flavoring. I know when you are canning and pickling you aren’t supposed to adjust the recipe, but I took a bold step out and decided that means salt, and vinegar and the quantity of fruits and vegetables. They taste ok to me.
Gather your ingredients and slice 2.5 pounds of yellow or zucchini squash, 2 onions, and 1 bell pepper (red, yellow or green) all about the same thickness into a non-reactive pan. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of Kosher salt and stir occasionally. Let stand for 2 hours. This is to allow the liquid to be released from the squash.
See the excess water that has accumulated?
After 2 hours drain the salty liquid that has accumulated (do not rinse) and return to the non-reactive pan.
Just before the 2 hours of salt brining is up, mix up and heat the sugar(less) brine. Bring the sugar brine to a boil and pour it over the squash in the same non-reactive pan. I call this sugar(less) because the recipe I found called for a sugar substitute that would work just like the sugar in a salt/vinegar brined vegetable. I used 2 1/4 cups of Splenda with 2 cups white distilled vinegar. I seasoned this with 2 teaspoons of mustard seed, 1 teaspoon celery seed, 1 teaspoon black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon red chile flakes.
Add the sugar brine to the drained squash mixture. Press down to cover and allow to brine for another 2 hours. Stirring occasionally to be sure all the squash has had a chance to be in the brine.
After 2 hours bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
In the meantime begin to bring your water bath canner to a boil with enough water to cover your pint jars with about 2 inches of water. Sterilize the seals in a separate small pan for sealing the jars.
After the sugar brine and squash come to a boil for 5 minutes immediately ladle into sterilized jars. Run a thin spatula or knife around the jar’s contents to release any air bubbles. Wipe the rims with a clean towel. Seal the jars with lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in simmering water bath to seal.
When the time is up remove the jars and allow to cool completely for 24 hours in a well-ventilated space before storing on a shelf for future use.
That is a lot of work for 4 jars, but worth every slice of it.