How to Make Pickled Zucchini

From zoodles to bread, zucchini is a versatile vegetable. You can transform it into pickled zucchini, too!

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You can preserve the flavors of summer by pickling zucchini. This recipe for sweet-and-sour zucchini pickles is an almost unrecognizable substitute for traditional dill pickles. You may be skeptical, but the results will convert you into a zucchini pickle lover!

How to Make Picked Zucchini

This recipe for zucchini pickles was submitted to Taste of Home by Tina Butler of Royse City, Texas. Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • 11 cups thinly sliced zucchini (about three pounds)
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup canning salt
  • 4-1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seed
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

Editor’s tip: For a more traditional flavor, add a few teaspoons of dill seed. You can also heat things up with crushed red pepper, black peppercorns and garlic.

Tools You’ll Need

Step 1: Soak the Vegetables

To start, place the zucchini and onion in a large stainless steel or glass bowl. Then, sprinkle vegetables with salt and toss to coat. Add water to cover and stir gently until salt is dissolved. Let stand at room temperature for two hours. Drain and rinse thoroughly.

When it comes to salt, opt for canning or pickling salt which you can find at most grocers and big box stores (just ask for it—it might not be in the salt and spice aisle). It’s one of many canning must-haves.

Editor’s tip: Be sure your bowl is nonreactive. You don’t want to use copper or aluminum, for this step, because the metal can react with acidic foods. Stick to a glass or ceramic dish.

Step 2: Prepare the Brine

In a six-quart stockpot, combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, turmeric and any other spices you’d like to include. Bring to a boil, stirring gently to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat. To help flavors blend, simmer the brine for five minutes. Add your zucchini mixture to the stockpot. Return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; then simmer, uncovered for five minutes, or until heated through.

While you’re preparing the mixture, thoroughly sterilize the jars. Wash the jars with hot, soapy water, and place them in a large pot of boiling water. Remove after about ten minutes.

Step 3: Fill Jars

Carefully ladle hot zucchinis and onions into six preheated pint jars. A canning funnel will really help here. When the jars are full, pour in the hot brine, leaving a half-inch headspace.

Here’s an important note for pros who regularly make pickles: You don’t have to pack the zucchinis as tightly as you pack cucumbers!

Remove air bubbles using a wooden spoon. If necessary, adjust the headspace by adding additional hot pickling liquid to maintain a 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims with a clean cloth. Center lids on jars and screw on bands until finger tight.

Editor’s tip: Have extra pickling liquid? Use it to boil potatoes, as a dressing or in tuna salad for extra flavor.

Step 4: Can

Place jars into a hot water canner filled with simmering water, make sure they’re completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. (If you’re cooking at altitude, consult this recipe for changes to processing time.)

Carefully remove jars and let cool on the countertop. The zucchini pickles are ready to eat, but will become even more flavorful after 24 hours. Let sit a few weeks for maximum taste! Next, learn how to make pickle de gallo.

How Long Do Zucchini Pickles Last?

Zucchini pickles have a long shelf life and can last for up to a year. But we’d be surprised if they last that long! The pickles can be used as a garnish at summer barbecues, saved for a crunchy snack or given out as a Christmas gift.

How to Make Zucchini Pickles in the Refrigerator

You can make a quick and easy version of this recipe, too. Instead of adding the zucchinis to the brining mixture, begin by adding the raw zucchinis and onions to the jars. Prepare the brining solution as normal, and pour the hot brine over the vegetables. Stir and secure the jars with lids. Let the jars cool for about half an hour, and then transfer to the refrigerator. They will be ready to eat after 24 hours and can stay refrigerated for between two and three weeks.

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Kim Bussing
Kim Bussing is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for publications including Reader’s Digest, Modern Farmer, Clean Plates and Vice, among others, and she is working on her first novel. She is always on the hunt for the perfect gluten-free cinnamon roll.