!!! LOCAL, SEASONAL, ORGANIC !!!
Now that I’ve got your attention, I need your advice/suggestions on how to proceed forward with this notion of preserving only in season, locally sourced, and organic goods. As you’ve probably noticed, the week before last I had some business cards printed up. Not completely thinking it through, I added the tag line “~local, seasonal, organic~” to the top of the card. Over the weekend, I was out looking for pickling inspiration at a veggie market in town, I started talking with one the store employees about canning, mentioned she should check out the blog, handed her a business card and was promptly called out, “you realized that nothing in your cart is local, in season, or organic right?!” RIGHT!? After stuttering my way through a half-assed response, I began thinking about my latest claim to crunchy fame. She was right, and now I sit here wishing I would have either omitted those words from the business card or added the fine print: “when possible…”. The thing is, that in order to stick to those terms the only produce that I could actually use would be from the “local” farmers’ market, and even so, to what radius around town does one consider local? In terms of timing, typically people put up in season food for the winter, and hence the “canning” season, and to that- seasonal in which locale? What I’ve quickly learned in having a year round canning blog, is that it’s absolutely impossible to fill the remaining months of the year with in season, locally produced goods.
So the question remains, do I try to only put up local, in season foods (which probably won’t be an issue come summer) and/or do I add a disclaimer to the blog or on every non-local, non-in season blog post?
On that note… today I bring to you a non-local, non-seasonal slightly sweet, slightly spicy pickled zucchini recipe. I ended up concocting my own pickling spice (fennel, celery, coriander, dill, cumin, bay leaves, peppercorns) as the star anise and other Christmas flavors in prepackaged pickling spice is a huge flavor turnoff. Many pickled zucchini recipes call for quite a bit of sugar, and as you know I’m not a huge fan of sweet pickles so while I decided to still add it, I did so in reduced proportions. Furthermore, to make up for the difference in ingredient ratios, I upped the spicy ante and added more red pepper flakes to the brine. On another note, as you can see from the photos, I used these beautiful Weck Jars which are a tad larger in volume than the standard pint jar and hence why the recipe yield says 3-4 pints. Anyways, here’s the recipe- Enjoy!
- 3 lbs zucchini (sliced into 1/4' rings)
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp sea/pickling salt
- ice cubes
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2-1/2 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1-1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes
- 3-4 tsp pickling spice
- Place zucchini rings in a large, non-metal bowl. Toss well with salt. Cover the zucchini slices fully with ice cubes and set aside for approx. 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, remove ice cubes, and drain zucchini very well (at least 10 minutes).
- In a large-size, non-ionized pot, combine vinegar, water, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.
- Into your warm and sterilized jars, pack zucchini slices. Add 1 garlic clove per jar and ~ 1 tsp of pickling spice to each jar. Pour brine over veggies leaving ~ 1/2 inch headspace.
- Wipe rims, apply lids and rims (finger tight). Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and let cool on a folded towel for 12-24 hours until sealed.
- Let pickles sit in a cool dry place for approximately 3 weeks before enjoying. Shelf stable for up to 1 year.