Overnight Zucchini Pickles

Overnight Zucchini Pickles

Much like my prior post on preparing home-made sauerkraut, this is another “I can’t believe how simple it is” recipe. It’s also another no-cooking recipe for the Home Cooked category.

Chinese supermarkets are no stranger to pickles. In fact, it was only after moving to China that I really examined the term “pickle” and realized it doesn’t always mean “pickled cucumber”, as I had erroneously grown up thinking. However, getting your standard jar of crunchy dills can be a bit of a challenge. Supermarkets usually only carry one or two kinds of pickles and they tend to be both expensive and not to my tastes.

So, when a friend in Dalian mentioned he was making some Bread & Butter pickles, it got me curious about making my own. One problem — no cucumbers. What I did have, however, was a zuchinni hanging out in the fridge that was eager to be put to use. I had briefly read somewhere that zucchini can be pickled similar to cucumbers, and so decided to give it a shot.

To be honest, my expectations were quite low that things would turn out very good. As such, I was a bit half-assed with the recipe, eye-balling most things. The results were pleasantly surprising though, so as best I remember, here’s what I did:

What I Used

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 air-tight container to store things in. I used a Lock & Lock, but a glass jar would work too
  • Water (enough to cover the sliced zucchini in the container – about 2 cups)
  • Sugar (about 4 heaped Tbsp)
  • Salt (about 1 Tbsp – or to taste)
  • Vinegar (around 100 ml or so)
  • Spices (traditionally you’d use mustard & celery seed, but I had neither, so I used fennel seeds, dried dill and some fresh ground black pepper)
  • Onion (about a quarter of a large onion — I used a red)

What I Did

  1. Place all ingredients (minus the zucchini and onion) in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat once boiling.
  2. Slice zucchini into thin 8-10 cm strips. I sliced length-wise, as the zucchini was a bit too fat to do circular slices.
  3. Cut onion into thin slices.
  4. Layer the zucchini and onion in the storage container in alternating layers.
  5. Pour the hot (not boiling) mixture into the container and allow to cool.
  6. Refrigerate overnight, and enjoy!

Virtually all recipes for pickles are a much longer process, but the overnight thing worked a treat. I tried the pickled zucchini the next day and it tasted great. It’s inspired me to try a few different combinations of the above — namely using more dill and a bunch of garlic, oh, and cucumbers! (Kool-Aid pickles anyone?) As I mentioned above, I was pretty slapdash with the recipe, and so relied a lot on tasting the pickling liquid to get it to a flavour I liked. If you follow my footsteps, I suggest doing the same. More salt, less sugar, etc.

If anyone has any advice or experience, it’s always much appreciated. I’ll look for it below.

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