Freshly canned summer squash pickles.

Summer squash is plentiful, how ’bout some pickles?

We have never had much luck growing squash. It seems we’d get in 3-5 and then the leaves of the plant would start looking diseased, shrivel, and die. Year after year. We could have said, “We just can’t grow squash,” or we could just keep trying to change things up until we got it right… or better. This year, the squash have been planted in a different location. Not sure if this made a difference, but the new location didn’t have composting fall leaves- just rich, black compost. The squash are getting a bit more sun too. We have been bringing in plenty of squash- much more than we can eat fresh, in a timely manner. Recently, I made up some canned summer squash pickles. These taste much like sweet relish. They add a little something new and delightful to refresh the lunchbox sandwich or add to a salad. They are very easy to prepare, you just need to plan to make the time to soak them. This recipe has been adapted from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. You may decide you just want a fresh batch to keep in your fridge and use up, in case you do not want to process the jars- but processing is very easy.

Makes: About 4 half-pint jars

2 lbs. Summer squash (6 medium) or 2 large
1 medium onion
¼ c. Ball Salt for Pickling & Preserving (I used table salt for my first batch)
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. Mustard seed
1 tsp. Celery salt
1 tsp. Turmeric
3 c. vinegar, 5% acidity
Ball Pickle Crisp (I didn’t have this on hand- but am interested)

1). Wash squash in cold water. Cut squash crosswise into thin, ¼ slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Sprinkle ¼ c. salt over vegetables. In a large bowl. Pour cold water over the top to cover. Let sit for 2 hours- go work out in the yard, finish up chores, or relax. Drain and rinse vegetables under cold water.

2). In a large saucepan, combine sugar, mustard seed, celery salt, turmeric, and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Add the vegetables. Let them soak in vinegar bath for 2 hours. More time to finish other tasks. Easy so far. Bring mixture back to a boil again. Reduce heat to simmer for 5 minutes.

3). Pack hot vegetables into a hot, clean jar, leaving ½” headspace at the top. If desired, add 1/16th Pickle Crisp to top. Remove any air bubbles. Add top & rim. Repeat with all jars. Water bath process jars in a covered canner- water should cover jars by 1”. Process for 15 minutes. Turn off heat & uncover for 5 minutes. Remove jars to covered counter to cool for 12 hours. The jars should “ping” or the lid’s bubble in the center should sink down naturally to seal. Label jars.

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