Personally, I don’t think you can have too many pickles. Though dill pickles are my favorite, I can also appreciate a great bread and butter and a sweet baby gherkin. But pickles don’t have to be made only from cucumbers either. Zucchini makes great pickles. If you’ve had trouble making pickles from zucchini, Ashley has a secret in this post for warm spicy zucchini pickles. She also tells how she came to change up her recipe a bit, and love it just as well.
I’m a zucchini bread fiend. I love it. I could eat it all day. But really, one cannot live on zucchini bread alone. My new favorite zucchini bread recipe is from Colleen at Grow Forage Cook Ferment. It’s an all-butter recipe that’s full of warm fall spices, and in reality, it tastes more like a spice bread recipe than a zucchini bread recipe. There’s so much warmth in a slice that I was inspired.
Pickles in my house usually stick to basic dill pickle-style seasonings. There’s whole coriander seed, mustard seeds and the like. After eating such a spicy zucchini bread, I was inspired to change up my traditional zucchini pickle seasonings and take them in a warm fall direction as well.
There’s always way too many zucchini to go around, so my zucchini bread habit can spare a few for these tasty pickles. Quick to make, just chop a zucchini and toss in whole spices and salt. They ferment in just 3-5 days, meaning you can make batch after batch and always have them fresh at hand as the zucchini harvest comes in.
A Tip for Better Zucchini Pickles
Make sure that the zucchini is still small enough that the seeds are not fully formed or you’ll end up with mushy pickles, and the centers will fall right out when you remove them from the jar. For firm pickles, you’ll need small to medium zucchini, no more than about 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter at the most. The real indicator is the seeds. Make sure the seed cavity is firm and the seeds are still tiny and not formed.
For this batch of spicy zucchini pickles, I chose simple warm fall spices including cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Whole peppercorns would add a bit more heat and intrigue, as would a small piece of fresh ginger. Also, consider a small piece of a whole nutmeg fruit. If you grate your own whole nutmeg, there will always be a tiny bit leftover at the end and that’s perfect for quick flavoring in ferments.
With a quick ferment like this, the spices will still be strong at the end of the ferment. Feel free to save a bit of the fermentation liquid along with the spices to make a second batch with the same spices. Be careful to keep everything clean though, and I personally wouldn’t keep the same spices going for more than two batches just to prevent contamination.
A Recipe for Warm Spicy Zucchini Pickles
How to Make Zucchini Pickles
Yield: 1 pint
Fermentation Time: 3-5 days
• 1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into rounds
• 1 Tb salt
• 1 cinnamon stick, whole
• 3-6 allspice berries, whole
• 3-6 cloves, whole
- Slice the zucchini into rounds. I opt for thicker rounds because I think it helps the zucchini hold up better to the fermentation process.
- Add in the whole spices. Be sure to use whole spices, not ground spices. Ground spices will make your pickles grainy.
- Cover with a brine made from one tablespoon of salt and about one cup of water. Add more water as necessary to ensure that the zucchini pickles are fully covered.
- Add your glass fermentation weight to keep the pickles fully submerged.
- Ferment on your counter at room temperature for three to five days. Once completed, place in the refrigerator to slow the fermentation process or consume right away and get another batch going!
In the Fermentools store, you will find fermentation lids for Mason jars, glass weights, and that special Himalayan Powder salt that dissolves in cool water. Better yet, get a kit! Everything you need in one package.
Ashley is an off-grid homesteader in central Vermont. She is passionate about fermentation, charcuterie, and foraging. Read more about her adventures at PracticalSelfReliance.com.