Saturday, June 11, 2016

Old Fashioned Southern Squash Pickles

Yum


So why do we pickle vegetables? Well in the South in particular, it became a way of preserving summer's bounty when little to no refrigeration or freezing was available. Summer Squash Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Pickled Okra, Dilled Green Beans and more became a way to "put things up" to enjoy year round. 

Brine squash in salt and water
It is rumored pickles were one of Cleopatra’s prized beauty secrets. They make appearances in the Bible and in Shakespeare’s writing. Pregnant women have been known to crave them along with ice cream. Pickles have been around for thousands of years, dating as far back as 2030 BC when cucumbers from their native India were pickled in the Tigris Valley. The word “pickle” comes from the Dutch pekel or northern German pókel, meaning “salt” or “brine,” two very important components in the pickling process. Throughout history pickling was a necessity, as it was the best way to preserve food for a long period of time. As one of the earliest mobile foods, pickles filled the stomachs of hungry sailors and travelers, while also providing families with a source of food during the cold winter months.

make sauce and pour over drained, brined pickles
Home pickling was made much easier and more sanitary during the 1850s, when two essential canning tools were invented. First, a Scottish chemist by the name of James Young created paraffin wax, which helped to create a seal for food preserved in jars. A few years later, John Mason developed and patented the first Mason jar. Mason’s jars were made from a heavyweight glass that was able to tolerate the high temperatures used in canning and processing pickles. (Source: Our State.com)

Using a slotted spoon, add squash to prepared canning jars
Cover squash pickles with sauce

Recipe
Ingredients
10 small firm yellow squash, sliced 1/4-inch thick
3 zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup canning salt
3 cups sugar
3 cups white vinegar
2 tsp. mustard seed
2 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. turmeric

Method
In a large stock pot, add sliced yellow squash, zucchini and onion. Sprinkle 1/2 cup canning salt over all, cover with cold water and let sit 2 hours. Drain, but do not rinse and set aside.

In a large saucepan, add sugar, vinegar and spices. Bring to a boil over medium high to high heat, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and pour mixture over drained squash. Let sit 30 minutes, stirring once in awhile to thoroughly blend.

Using a slotted spoon, fill prepared jars (wide mouth pint jars work best), pushing vegetables down in jars. Ladle hot liquid over vegetables leaving 1/4-inch head-space. Use a plastic knife and move up and down around sides of jars to remove air bubbles; top with more liquid if necessary,

Cover jars with lids and rings and process in boiling water bath 10 minutes. Remove jars from water bath and let sit on a kitchen towel on your counter-top 24 hours undisturbed. Jars are sealed when button in middle of lid is depressed and can't be moved.

Store in pantry up to 1 year. Opened jars must be refrigerated.

Cooks note - recipe is easily divided or doubled. Vinegar and Sugar ratio is 1:1 so adjust accordingly along with spices (less spice when divided, more spice when doubled).

Yield: 6 wide-mouth pint jars

Process in boiling water bath, cool and enjoy

Enjoy,
Mary

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