Today, canning vegetables at home is mostly reasonable for farmers, I guess, who grow vegetables and need to preserve their harvest. Pickling, on the other hand, is a simple and quick cooking method for summer vegetables. Unlike many overwhelmingly spicy, salty, and vinegary store-bought pickles (they have to be that way for shelf life), homemade pickles can be forgivingly gentle. We can protect their natural flavors, texture, and most importantly, keep their nutrients! Make a few jars at a time, keep them refrigerated, and enjoy your cold, crunchy, refreshing, healthy, comforting vegetables — a great snack to survive Texas summer.
Summer Squashes @ Livin’ Organics
While dark green zucchini and pale green Calabasas are available at local supermarkets almost year-round, organic heirloom varieties can only be found at farmers markets.
My supply this year comes from my favorite local farm Livin’ Organics, located at Spicewood. Among all the summer squashes I get to experiment with, pale pattypan is my number one for pickling. I can’t force myself to use it for other dishes, because it is so delightful when pickled. The second best for pickling is a yellow Straightneck squash.
They have thin skin, small seeds, and juicy flesh like no other summer squashes. All my fresh herbs — celery leaf, dill flowers, green fennel also come from the same farm to five my pickles all the aromatic complexity.
Wash and pat dry summer squash and herbs. Slice the squash to bite-size pieces. Peel garlic cloves and slice them. Measure all spices, salt, sugar, and vinegar.
Wash and heat your jars and lids. If your dishwasher has a mode for heat sanitizing, use it for the best results.
Combine all marinade ingredients in a pot and place it over high heat.
Divide the garlic and fresh herbs equally between your clean jars. Fill the jars with sliced squash to the top. Shake the jars lightly to compact the vegetables when needed.
When marinade starts boiling, scoop the spices dividing them equally and pour the marinade into jars. Secure the lids. Leave the jars to cool down at room temperature for 24 hours. Keep them refrigirated after that.