It’s That Time Again
Oli’s taking a break this week and I want to play. Anyone up for a guessing game? Go ahead. It’s good for your brain and this one is easy.
*I’m a member of the cucurbita family.
*I was probably born in Central America and the northern parts of South America way back around 5500 BC.
*Native Americans introduced me to European settlers.
*I was developed by the Italians who gave me the name by which you know me today.
*I arrived in California via Italian immigrants in the 1920′s.
*Lots of cuisines use me, but the Italians make the most use of me.
*I can be baked, fried, grilled, roasted, stuffed, steamed, stir fried, sautéed, pickled – you name it.
*I’m called courgette in parts of Europe and vegetable marrow in Britain.
*Right about this time of year words like galore, scads, overflowing and superabundance describe my presence in your garden.
Enough? OK. I’ll just let Dave Barry identify me and share his thoughts about me.
“Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden menacing other vegetables. At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.”
Yep, it’s invasion of the zucchini time again. So before any more of them proliferate I’ll get right to the recipe. It’s an easy recipe for no cook refrigerator zucchini pickles. Slices of ginger add a delightfully mild but fruity heat and are a welcome surprise in what is sort of a classic pickle recipe. Cloves add a just detectable aromatic sweetness.
I love this recipe for its simplicity and especially for its room for flexibility. I tossed in a red bell pepper but you can easily substitute carrot slices. If you’ve got zucchini’s cousin, yellow squash, go ahead and mix it in as well. I made this batch with white wine vinegar, but plain ole vinegar will do quite nicely. Instead of a jalapeño, sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. I made use of what was left of my jar of jalapeños instead of using a fresh one this time. Well, I did say I love the flexibility of this recipe.
What I especially love is the fact that there’s no canning or preserving necessary – no fuss, no muss. The pickles are pictured in a jar, because it’s a handy way to bring them to a picnic, but all you have to do is refrigerate and enjoy.
Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles
4 medium zucchini, cut into thin rounds
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, cut into 1/4- inch slices
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Combine zucchini, bell pepper, onion, jalapeno, ginger and garlic in a large bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric, cloves, and a good grind of freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes.
3. Pour vinegar brine over vegetables and gently stir to coat it all.
4. Let sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. The volume of vegetables will slowly shrink.
Cover and refrigerate. These zucchini pickles are best when refrigerated overnight. They are every bit as crunchy as their cucumber pals and just think, there’s more zucchini where these pickles came from!