I think the best part of Christmas is all the food, the cooking, the sharing of abundance. So we thought you might like to join our ritual, and make some pickles to share with those you love. Because right now, for us, it’s all about bottling that sunshine.
More and more, our focus is on bringing you recipes that we use all the time. Right now, we have just hit summer and opened our last jar of these from last season that was sitting on the shelf.
These pickles are not something new in our home, but something we have been making over and over again for years. Our friends that visit us have come to expect and request these as a part of any meal. So this isn’t a new one, but a super great, reliable, and useful recipe, we make every zucchini season.
And seeing as it’s almost Christmas and summer has hit, we wanted to share it with you, so you could share it with others. If you are starting a long, dark winter – bookmark this for later and let this email bring you some sunshine.
To be honest, our zucchinis aren’t fruiting yet. We have had our challenges at the new farm. Normal challenges, as Matt continues to remind me – it’s about learning the new place, the new environment, the new surroundings. It seems that the frost lasts for longer and there is less of those wild plants we love. So that means there are more slugs, snails and insects. But it’s the best reminder of nature, that it needs the balance of those wild plants (companion plants!) so that the insects and plants are in balance. And that each place you live, will be different, and you have to learn it and observe it. And we have to be patient as the wildness grows and things balance.
But something that hasn’t changed is our love of pickles, we always have pickles to fall back on haha. So right now, we still have enough of these to get us through until our zucchinis start to fruit again!
These pickles have an amazing flavour (a little sweet, a little mustardy) and a soft but crunchy texture. Zucchinis are well known for growing super-fast, so this is an awesome thing to do with the oversized zucchinis - make this a part of your routine each year.
We have spent many years perfecting these, and they have become very known in our village. See how they can make their way around yours.
On growing zucchinis
If you have never gardened before, start with zucchinis. They grow prolifically, and if you get it right, they should provide you with an abundance of zucchinis all summer and into autumn. They love rich soil so prepare the planting area by forking deeply and incorporating a generous amount of grazing-animal manure (horse, cow, sheep etc). Give these guys lots of space as they get super big (up to 1m across!) so plant at least 60cm apart. And when the harvest starts, pick them often. They love heat, lots of water directly to their roots (not on their leaves), and on hot days you can almost watch zucchinis grow on the plant, they grow that fast. You will easily be able to find zucchini seedlings at nurseries at this time of year. In the case of zucchini seedlings bigger isn't always better. Very advanced seedlings are less likely to do well that younger seedlings when transplanted. So we always plant directly from seed or transplant seedlings that have only one set of true (crinkly) leaves. Happy growing!
Makes 1 x 1L jar // Time 10 minutes preparation + 6 hours or overnight salting + 50 minutes jarring
You can use this recipe to pickle as many zucchini's as you have! Adjust the ingredient quantities accordingly based on the weight of your zucchinis.
800g zucchini, mandolined or finely sliced
1 small (100g) onion, mandolined or finely sliced
1 tablespoon unrefined salt
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
¾ teaspoon celery seeds
160ml white wine vinegar
½ cup unrefined sugar e.g. rapadura (See note)
1¼ teaspoons dried turmeric
Place zucchini, onion and salt in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Rinse zucchini and onion under cool water and drain well.
Place drained zucchini, onion, mustard and celery seeds in a mixing bowl and combine thoroughly. Stuff gently into a 1L jar.
Place vinegar, sugar and turmeric in a pot and heat gently while stirring until all sugar dissolves. Add to jar, filling to 1 cm below lip.
Screw on the lid so it is firmly in position without over-tightening (it's not how tight you screw on the lid, but the vacuum created as the jar cools, that forms the seal), and place jar in the deepest pot you have. Fill the pot to within 5 cm of the top of the jar, cover and gently heat to 72-80°C. Maintain in this heat range for 40 minutes to pasteurise and seal the jars.
After 40 minutes carefully check that the lid has remained firmly in position and adjust if necessary. You can leave the jar to cool in the water bath, or carefully remove and leave to cool on the bench. Once cooled the lid should have sucked down. If it hasn't, repeat the water bath process with a new lid.
Will keep for at least 1 year on the shelf. Open and enjoy when you are ready and once open store in the fridge. Best eaten from 3 months onwards.
We often use raw sugar rather than unrefined sugar (e.g. rapadura) in this recipe purely for the awesome, bright yellow colour of the finished pickle. Unrefined sugar makes an equally tasty pickle and is a little healthier for sure, but makes a pickle that's a little on the brown side. There are pictures of both types above so you can see the difference – you do you.
P.S. BOOK GIVE-AWAY!
After a lot of work behind the scenes our book is finally now available on Amazon USA!!
And we are so excited that we are giving away 6 books to celebrate! Just tag 2 people that you know or admire in the USA on Instagram here by midnight December 15 and you could be one of the lucky winners!