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Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2005

You can pickle summer squash

July 27, 2005

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Q: Can summer squash, including zucchini, be pickled?

A: Thanks to the Georgia Cooperative Extension Service for sharing the following methods recommended 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 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 with mixture, leaving half-inch head space. Fill jars to half-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 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 teaspoons mustard seed

3 cups cider vinegar

Wash squash and cut in thin slices. Peel and slice onions 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 half-inch head space. Fill jar half-inch from top with boiling liquid. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.

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

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

A: 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 head space.

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

A: 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.

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

A: 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.

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