Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yellow Squash Pickles

The southern vegetarian meal I’ve been going on about this week was inspired by the veggies in our CSA pick-up. What I haven’t mentioned until now is that in it we received a very generous pile of golden, yellow summer squash. After reading the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, I had mentally tucked away the notion of making zucchini pickles. When I saw all of those summer squashes from our CSA, I decided it was pickle time with a slight change to the main ingredient. The Zuni zucchini pickles are well-known for their fluorescent, green color, but my version resulted in very saturated, yellow pickles instead. They were a great addition to the meal. I actually doubled the recipe and filled a tall jar of them, so there are plenty more waiting in the refrigerator for future meals.

I don’t know if this is against the rules of southern-style vegetable pickling or not, but my preference is for tart, vinegary pickles rather than sweet ones. I may have just ruined the meal’s theme by throwing some non-sweet pickles on the table. And, while I’m confessing, I don’t like sugar in my tea either. So, I made the brine with less than half the suggested amount of sugar. First, two pounds of yellow squash were thinly sliced on a Benriner, and a couple of onions were cut into thin slices as well. Those were combined and tossed with salt in a large bowl. Ice cubes and cold water were added, and it was left to sit for an hour before being drained and patted dry. Cider vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds, and turmeric, the secret to the vivid color, were combined and simmered for a few minutes. The brine was allowed to cool before being poured over the prepared squash and onion. All of it was packed into a large glass jar and placed in the refrigerator where it will keep indefinitely.

I had one minor concern about the brine because the powdery dry mustard and turmeric made it appear a little cloudy. I worried that the pickles might come out of the jar with a slight grittiness from the spices. That was not the case, and I forgot all about it when I tasted the chilled pickles the next day. Any cloudiness or grit that was present on the first day had dissolved or settled in the jar. The flavor of the pickles was just where I’d hoped it would be. The reduced amount of sugar provided some balance, but the tartness was evident. They added a spunky, crunchy element to our main course of vegetable stew, and they’ll be delicious with burgers and salads to come. I thought I had made a ridiculously large batch, but the jar is getting emptier every day as I snack on a few pickles every time I open the refrigerator.




31 comments:

  1. yum - just looking at them I can tell they'll be nice and savory.

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  2. As a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner, I don't think you've missed your mark with these pickles. Granted most pickles I've seen are of the sweet variety, but I hate sweet pickles. Sugar's meant for tea, not pickles! :) Looks like you've had a great week of cooking.

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  3. nice - the humble pickle gets a face lift!

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  4. I never made my own pickles before. Thanks for the info.

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  5. Oh my gosh. This looks beautiful.

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  6. They look delicious. I've never had savoury pickles before and am really fond of the sweet variety, but this does sound like an interesting twist on them!

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  7. This looks delish and I love the colors!

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  8. These yellow squash pickles look so sunny! I'm a recent pickling convert (though, ironically, I still don't like pickles) and this looks wonderful. I trend toward sweet flavor but I agree that a more tart, mouth-puckering taste suits here.

    Yay for refrigerator pickling for those of us who are still unfamiliar with full-on canning methods!

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  9. You're funny. I'm with you on the sugar though -- not in my pickles (unless they're also painfully spicy-hot, then a little balancing sweetness is ok) and not in my tea. Or coffee. I love the idea of instant pickles, but haven't yet tried them. I can eat just about anything as long as it's pickled though.

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  10. Gosh, your pickle look wonderful Lisa. I never made any pickle like this.

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  11. I absolutely adore pickles, especially the giant half sour ones out of the barrels along Delancy Street in NYC. I would have never thought of pickling yellow squash, but they look so amazing, I have to try it at some point. Squash has such a neutral flavor, it's the perfect for the strong flavors in pickling. Gorgeous photos too..they look so bright ans summery!

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  12. pickled squash, eh? now, more than ever, do i wish i had a glut of summer squash, as i'd know exactly what to do with them. mustard powder in the brine sounds interesting, too!

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  13. I love pickles from time to time & we eat it with fries!!

    This one looks as a winner!!

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  14. The pickles sound delicious and appetizing!

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  15. I've never thought of pickling squash. What a great and tasty idea!

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  16. Perfect timing! I have some lovely yellow squash from my CSA sitting in my fridge.

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  17. I love anything pickled, but I confess I have never had pickled squash. I just joined a CSH (I know, I'm the last food blogger on the planet to do so) and I'm sure I'll be getting lots of squash.

    By the way, do they allow you to live in Texas and not like sweet tea?

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  18. Dana: I'm hoping the southern-sweet-tea police aren't following my blog!

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  19. Love pickled veg. I don't like sugar in my tea either but I like my pickled stuff slightly sweet.

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  20. Beautiful pickled squash, must be yummilcious!

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  21. Ah, dry mustard is the secret ingredient. Must try making these. It's neon in a jar.

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  22. Pickled squash sounds like an excellent idea, can't wait to try!

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  23. This would make a really beautiful garnish. It would totally brighten up any plate of food.

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  24. this pickle idea is great.. i shud give a try!

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  25. How cool! My hubby would especially love these, I'm impressed you made your own pickled squash!

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  26. these look beautiful. I'm such a fan of vinegar, I love pickles. I don't really make preserves myself, but I must recommend this to my mom :).

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  27. What a gorgeous yellow! It sounds like fun to make your own pickles.

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  28. I am in love with these. It is great that they will keep indefinitely, though I guess that is not really a problem since they sound irresistible.

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  29. what a great idea. I was planning on pickling onions this weekend, and now will throw some squash in there as well!

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  30. Great idea! Believe it or not we are just coming into season here in MA - all that early rain. I think this is top of the list for what to do with them as they come on.

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