An old tradition goes on

I first found out about the pickled squash from a friend. She told me how her mom used to pickle baby squash, using the same brine which she used when pickling cucumbers. Even when she was living in the countryside and had a garden, she didn't grow squash. However, she would ask the village gardener to save her some baby squash for pickling. Each baby squash had to be very small, like a cucumber. They weren't easy to get, because of their fast growth. That's why the gardener couldn't provide a large quantity of baby squash every day. He had to pick them several days in a row and, at the end of the week, he would bring them to his customer.

It's easier when you have the zucchini in your garden

My friend told me the story about the pickled squash after I brought her a few squash and zucchini from my garden. Of course, we ended up talking about squash food recipes. One thing led to another and she told me about the famous pickled squash, that her mom used to make. I always like to find out about new recipes and if I consider them interesting, I add them to my recipes list. That's what happened with the pickled squash. I had more than enough squash and zucchini growing in my garden, so I decided to pickle some and see how they were. Of course, I started to watch out for the baby squash. I spotted them just when the bloom was fading and then I waited for them to grow a little bit, which usually was the next day. If I didn't pick them in their first day of growing, they would grow too big for what I needed. This is how I managed to pick a few, for pickling. I pickled them together, the squash and zucchini, and they were so good that I ate them in two days. I only had one jar with baby zucchini and squash, but I also tried with sliced zucchini and squash and they were also very good.

Baby zucchini in the jar

The recipe for pickled squash or zucchini

The ingredients for 1 quart jar are :

- 5-6 baby zucchini or baby squash
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- a small branch of a dry dill flower with adult seeds (or just a few seeds)
- 2-3 sour cherry leaves (optional)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- 1/2 quart water

Wash all the baby zucchini and let dry. Sterilize the jar in the oven or in a special jar sterilizer. I don't have a special sterilizer, so I just put the jar in the oven, turn it on at low fire 300F and let it stay on for 5 minutes. Then I turn it off and let the jar cool inside the oven.
Once the jar is cold, place the baby zucchini inside the jar vertically. They have to stay loose, not forced into the jar, otherwise they can be damaged and get mushy, once pickled - and not crunchy, as they should be.
Add dill flower with seeds, the garlic clove and the sour cherry leaves, over the baby zucchini or between them.
Bring to boil water with salt and vinegar. Let boil for 2 minutes.
Put the jar on the stove's grate, to prevent cracking, then carefully pour the hot brine into the jar, with a ladle. The grate absorbs the heat of the jar, so it doesn't crack. You can also let the jar sit on two knife blades, arranged in a cross, before pouring the hot brine. You can also let the brine cool and pour it over later, but then it will delay pickling. Fill the jar with brine until it covers the zucchini. Put on the lid and seal it tight.
Let it sit in a warm place for a week. After a day or two, the brine in the jar will start fermenting, will become unclear and it will rise up, maybe overflow a little through the lid, even as tight as tight as it is. It will stay unclear for a few days, but then it will start clearing, while the level of the brine decreases. This is the moment when you can start eating the pickled zucchini. Enjoy!