Don't leave the island

Sabina and the Squash
Sabina and the Squash

Messed up things happen.  I was gone 5 days - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, count 'em.  Evidently, the entirety of the summer's growing potential jammed itself into those five days.  I came home to 17 pounds of squash and zucchini.  We're not talking the junior hand size types that are great for stir-fry's (and Preserved Zucchini or Love Pats)-- we're talking two hands needed and my arms hurt after I peeled them types.  These were like baseball bats (or small dogs).So, what to do with 17 pounds of giant zucchini? Zucchini relish, (with an Indian spice kick), of course.  I now have 16 pint size jars -- who loves hot dogs ?

Sweet & Spicy Indian Zucchini & Squash Relish
Sweet & Spicy Indian Zucchini & Squash Relish

For the burger folks, I also made my first batch of pickles given the cucumbers had also gone on HGH while I was away.

Ginger & Garlic Pickles
Ginger & Garlic Pickles

And the zinnias bloomed!  Summer isn't gone yet. Until it is, I'm stickin' around.

Flame Orange Zinnia
Flame Orange Zinnia
Hot Pink Zinnia
Hot Pink Zinnia

Sweet Kick Zucchini (or Squash) Relish

I'm certain these will zip up a nice sausage but I'm really looking forward to using them as a condiment to homemade Indian food (I'd happily do take out but 'take out' around here means a visit to the compost pile).

Makes 4 pints (I multiplied by 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds zucchini or yellow squash (or both), peeled, trimmed, seeds removed, shredded*
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons pickling salt (this is simply no additive salt)
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon allspice berries, ground

*I used 4 pounds weighed before processing.

Prepare zucchini and/or squash and set aside.  For this quantity I found the shredder attachment for the food processor necessary.

Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to a boil.  Stir to ensure sugar and salt are dissolved.

Add the zucchini and spices and simmer for 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, ladle zucchini into sterilized jars, packing medium tightly.  Top with remaining liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Wipe the rims clean of any debris to ensure a proper seal.  Simmer lids in boiling water for a few minutes to soften the rubber flange.  Remove, and place lids on jars.  Screw on bands only fingertip tight (this is so the steam can release during the canning process but nothing can get inside).  Process using a water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Remove, and allow to cool on the counter.  Store somewhere cool and dark for up to one year.  I'd wait at least a week for the relish to season, before enjoying.  Refrigerate after opening.

Ginger Garlic Pickles

Adapted from Tart and Sweet, by Kelly Geary and Jessie Knadler.

For me, pickles rock on anything.  The ginger in here evokes a nice southeast Asian carrot slaw.  So get creative; I think they'd shine alongside anything marinated in soy and cilantro.

Makes 5 quarts

Ingredients

  • 6 pounds pickling cucumbers, ends trimmed, quartered into spears, or sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons pickling salt (this is simply no additive salt)

Per jar

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1-2 dried hot peppers (the hotter the better)

Prepare cucumbers and set aside.  I recommend using farm fresh cucumbers, given these are not peeled.  The store bought varieties are often coated with wax -- if you decide to use them, be sure to scrub them thoroughly to remove the wax.

Bring the vinegars, water, and salt to a boil.  Stir to ensure the salt is dissolved.

Place garlic, ginger, and hot pepper in the bottom of each sterilized jar.  Pack tightly with cucumbers.  Top with boiling brine, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Wipe the rims clean of any debris to ensure a proper seal.  Simmer lids in boiling water for a few minutes to soften the rubber flange.  Remove, and place lids on jars.  Screw on bands only fingertip tight (this is so the steam can release during the canning process but nothing can get inside).  Process using a water bath canner for 10 minutes.  Remove, and allow to cool on the counter.  Store somewhere cool and dark for up to one year.  I'd give these a few weeks to season before enjoying.  Refrigerate after opening.