When I was in Portland a couple weeks ago, my parents’ garden was in full swing. There were pole beans, baby greens in a big tub, slicing cucumbers, and an endless number of zucchini. I spent most of my time there preoccupied by the zucchini and all the culinary options it offers.
I pan-fried thick rounds in olive oil and garlic one night. The next day I made a big batch of zucchini butter to spread on toast and toss with pasta. I also made a huge batch of quick zucchini pickles for my parents to layer into their sandwiches.
One thing you might notice about this recipe is that it calls for whole grain mustard rather than dried mustard seeds. This choice was driven entirely by what my mom had available in the house. And truly, I think the prepared mustard was a really nice addition. It adds a bit of extra body to the liquid and a nice roundness to the finished pickle.
Because I made these pickles with an eye towards sandwiches, the slices are pretty thin. I you prefer something a little chunkier, feel free to do a thicker cut. You could also process these in a boiling water bath. However, if you have the fridge space, the texture of the fridge version really is a bit more sturdy and toothsome (which I like). To each his own!
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon pickling or fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons whole grain prepared mustard
- 2 1/2 pounds zucchini
- 1/2 large sweet onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- Combine the vinegar, water, coconut sugar, salt, and mustard in a pot that can hold at least 4 quarts. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
- While the pickling liquid heats, trim the ends off your zucchini and thinly slice using a food processor, mandoline, or kitchen knife.
- Cut the onion into thin half moons.
- Gently bash the garlic cloves enough to help the cloves come away from their peels.
- Once the liquid is boiling, add the sliced zucchini and onion to the pot. At first it won't seem possible that their will be enough liquid, but within a minute or two, the zucchini will wilt into the liquid.
- Remove the pot from the heat and divide the pickles between two quart jars. Tuck a couple peeled garlic cloves into each jar.
- Let the jars cool until the are at room temperature. Put lids on the jars and stash them in the back of the fridge for at least a couple of days (though they'll get better over time).
- These pickles should keep at least 8 weeks in the refrigerator.