In A Pickle


I've never eaten so much yellow squash in my entire life as I have this summer, thanks to my garden.  I'm sure by now you are as tired of reading posts and recipes about it here as I am of eating it!  It appears that I'm nearing the end of the Summer Squash Diet because the plants have nearly (finally) exhausted themselves, but over the weekend I was faced with what to do with the 20+ little yellow buggers laying on my kitchen counter. Having already sauteed, fried and Parmesan'd the hell out of them, the only thing left to do was pickle them.  I scrounged around in the garage until I uncovered my grandmother's water bath canner, cleaned it up and also dusted off my mother's Ball Blue Book canning guide.  Believe it or not, I even found a dozen canning jars under a few inches of dust!

The act of making the pickles themselves wasn't bad at all because slicing up the squash, onions, and bell peppers and making the sweet and sour brine didn't take very long ~ the worst part about all of it was waiting for the water in the canner to boil.  Not only does a watched pot never boil, but one left on the stove for nearly 2 hours doesn't either!  So a word to the wise....start your water to boil long before you even think about making the pickles.

The texture of a pickled squash is a bit different than a cucumber pickle because squash have a more spongy texture.  Slice them as thin as you can and the difference in texture won't be as noticeable.  After they are processed in the canner, give them at least a few days to soak up the tasty brine before you pop a top and enjoy.  Use them straight from the jar, on a sandwich, served as a side with barbecue, as part of an antipasta platter or even garnish a garden salad with them. 

Squash Pickles
Courtesy of about.com

Ingredients:

•8 cups yellow summer squash, sliced
•2 cups sliced sweet onion
•1 tablespoon non-iodized salt
•1 cup diced green bell pepper
•1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
•2 cups cider vinegar
•3 1/2 cups sugar
•1 teaspoon celery seeds*
•1 teaspoon mustard seed*

*I used 2 teaspoons pickling spice instead because it's what I had on hand, left over from another project.


Preparation:

Combine squash and onion slices in a large enamel kettle; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 1 hour. Add green pepper, vinegar, sugar, celery seeds and mustard seeds and bring to a boil. Pack in sterilized canning jars (I ended up with 3 quarts loosely using the measurements of this recipe). Bring water to a boil in a boiling water-bath canner. Place hot filled jars in rack and into the water. Starting timer when water returns to a boil with jars in it; process for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes for altitudes of 1,001 to 6,000 feet. Over 6,000 feet, process for 15 minutes.
 
Makes approximately 6 pints or 3 quarts.

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