I promised to talk about what to do with all that zucchini, didn’t I?
Well, my favorite way to eat zucchini is grated and sauteed with lots of butter and garlic. But there’s only so much of that a person can eat.
While I was thinking about interesting ways to preserve zucchini, I remembered an old-fashioned zucchini-mustard pickle that one of our neighbors used to make when I was little. It was yellow, oniony, and a bit sweet, with lots of mustard seeds in it.
(The neighbor ladies weren’t allowed to give me cookies, as my parents were into full-on Jethro Klossâ€“style healthfoodism. Eventually, after shaking their heads and clucking their tonguesâ€”what’s childhood without cookies?â€”the ladies compromised with my mother and gave me jars of pickles instead. Not a bad deal, really. A jar of pickles lasts a lot longer than a cookie.)
I was excited to try to re-create the yellow zucchini pickles of my childhood. But here’s the thing: they were cooked vinegar pickles, and I’ve been really into raw fermented pickles lately. I figured if I made a raw pickle using similar ingredients, the flavor would likely be similar. But the texture would be really different. And I don’t really like the crunchy-but-grainy texture of raw zucchini.
My solution was to grate the zucchini and make a relish, hoping that the crunch of the zucchini would be pleasant this way.
Here’s what I did:
Grated up one oversized zucchini, minus the seeds. (This is a good use for monster zucchini.)
Mixed in one chopped red jalapeÃ±o and one thinly sliced onion.
Salted the mix. Well. Until it tasted nice and salty.
Added spices: turmeric, mustard seeds, allspice, cinnamon, pepper.
Packed it in a jar with two cherry leaves. (You could use grape leaves, or oak, too. This is to keep it from getting mushy.)
I squished the relish down until it was submerged in its own juice, and kept it there with a “pickling rock” about the size of the mouth of the jar.
If you haven’t made fermented pickles before, I’d suggest you read a bit about technique before you make any. Sandor Ellix Katz’s Wild Fermentation is a good place to start.
I let this relish ferment for about 5 days. (It was hot out, so it didn’t take long. At more reasonable temperatures it’d probably take a week or so.)
It turned out really wellâ€”delightfully tangy and mustardy. We ate it on goat burgers with roasted peppers the other day. The boy kept shaking his head and saying “Mmm.” He ate three.