Archive for Wednesday, July 25, 2001

In a real pickle

Vinegar, sugar and salt can turn vegetables into spicy treats

July 25, 2001


Can summer squash, including zucchini, be pickled?

Thanks to the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service for sharing the following methods for pickling summer squash and zucchini.

Pickled Bread-and-Butter Zucchini

16 cups fresh zucchini, sliced

4 cups onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup pickling or canning salt

4 cups white vinegar

2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons mustard seed

2 tablespoons celery seed

2 teaspoons ground turmeric

Cover zucchini and onion slices with 1 inch of water and pickling or canning salt. Let stand 2 hours and drain thoroughly.

Combine vinegar, sugar and spices. Bring to a boil. Add zucchini and onions. Simmer 5 minutes.

Fill jars to 1/2 inch from top with hot pickling solution. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process pints or quarts for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Squash Pickles Recipe I

2 pounds fresh, firm zucchini or yellow summer squash

2 small onions

1/4 cup pickling or canning salt

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon celery salt

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoon mustard seed

3 cups cider vinegar

Wash squash and slice thinly. Peel onions and slice thinly. Place vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Cover with cold water and stir to blend in salt. Let stand 2 hours. Drain thoroughly.

Bring remaining ingredients to a boil. Pour over squash and onions. Let stand 2 hours. Bring all ingredients to a boil and heat 5 minutes.

Pack vegetables into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Fill jar 1/2 inch from top with boiling liquid. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Squash Pickles Recipe II

4 pounds summer squash

1/4 cup pickling or canning salt

1 quart vinegar

1 cup water

Dill seed (1 teaspoon per pint)

Garlic, if desired (1 clove per pint)

Wash and slice squash. Pack squash, dill seed and garlic, if desired, into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Bring vinegar, water and salt to a boil; simmer 5 minutes. Fill jars 1/2 from top with boiling hot liquid. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

I just opened a can of pickles and noticed pin-size holes in the lid. How did these holes get in my lid?

Holes in the lids on pickled products occur occasionally when the lids have small nicks or scratches on the white undercoating surface.

These scratches expose the metal of the lid to the acid of the pickles. The acidity of the vinegar solution then reacts with the lid to cause rusting and, possibly, the formation of holes. If corrosion has eaten a hole through the lid, the product must be discarded.

To avoid this corrosive action, be sure to visually examine all lids for scratches. Also, be sure to use a 5 percent acidity vinegar and to check the concentration of salt and vinegar in the recipe. Finally, be sure to remove excess air from the jar by releasing air bubbles and leaving the correct amount of headspace.

Why do I have to use a boiling-water canner when making jelly?

We recommend packing jelly in a sterilized jar and processing in a boiling-water canner to eliminate any molds, which cause spoilage, present in the jar or product at the time of capping. Using a boiling-water canner also will help exhaust air from the jar so a good vacuum seal is formed. Following a 5-minute processing time will ensure the quality and safety of your product.

If I eliminate the salt in my vegetables, can I substitute herbs and process for the same amount of time?

For people on salt-restricted diets, home canning of vegetables is a viable alternative to heavily salted, commercially canned vegetables. When canning salt-free vegetables, fresh or dried herbs may be used to enhance the product's flavor. This substitution can be made without changing the processing time.

Remember that the flavor of the herb will grow in strength as the canned product sits on the shelf.

Why do my green beans lose their bright green color after I can them?

The heat of the canning process breaks down the chlorophyll, the green coloring matter in plants and green vegetables. This reaction occurs naturally and has nothing to do with specific canning techniques.

Susan Krumm is an Extension agent in family and consumer sciences with K-State Research and Extension-Douglas County, 2110 Harper St. She can be reached at 843-7058.

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