Son in Law Zucchini Pickles

I have been thinking about how to curry favour with my son-in-law as I need a few jobs done and Kyle, a carpenter, is meticulous and super- efficient. Going by the moniker, ‘that tool in the tool box’, a self-inflicted title I might add, Kyle is the man you need when a door doesn’t line up with a wall.

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Not Walt from Breaking Bad. Not Kyle the carpenter. It’s Mr Tranquillo tackling a wall renovation.

I know he likes these pickles: I have seen him hoover down a whole jar in one sitting. They are delightfully old-fashioned but on trend. They often appear on a summer ‘tasting plate’ (an annoying term used in Australia for a mishmash of tit-bits on a plate) in some of the more fashionable wineries and restaurants about town. These pickles were popularised by Stephanie Alexander in the 1990s, taken from her seminal cookbook, The Cook’s Companion, a dictionary styled cookbook which has sold more than 500,000 copies to date. Her ‘bible’ sits on the shelf in many Australian homes. My copy is well-thumbed, splattered and stained.

Basic pickle ingredients. Sugar, vinegar, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds.
Basic pickle ingredients: sugar, vinegar, turmeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds.

During January and February, when it’s not uncommon to pick one kilo of zucchini a day, I make these pickles often and share the jars around. They make a handsome addition to a ploughman’s lunch, or give a vinegary crunch to a cheese sandwich.

Step 1. Add the sliced zucchini and onion , well salted, to a bowl of water.
Step 1. Add the sliced zucchini and onion , well salted, to a bowl of water.

Stephanie’s Zucchini Pickles

  • 1 kilo small zucchini, sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 onions, finely sliced
  • ½ cup salt
  • 3 cups white wine vinegar
  • 1/½ cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard seed
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
    Step 2. Covered in a vinegar, sugar, turmeric and mustard solution.
    Step 2. Covered in a vinegar, sugar, turmeric and mustard solution

    Toss the zucchini and onion with the salt in a ceramic bowl, then cover with cold water. Leave for one hour. Drain then return to the bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and stir over gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil and pour over drained zucchini. Leave to cool. Use at once or pack into sterilized jars and refrigerate. Use within two months. Makes about five medium sized jars.

zucchini pickle jars

*  Stephanie Alexander, The Cooks Companion, Penguin Books, Australia, 1996, p785.

24 thoughts on “Son in Law Zucchini Pickles”

  1. Yes, yes, yes – I love zucchini pickles. In the past few months we have had salad plates nearly every day or evening due to limited cooking facilities and the pickles are always on the plate. We’ve had your version and a more unsual ‘minced’ version. Both were from small regional producers so I’ll be looking out for them the next time I going that way. I was dubious of the minced version but they were just as nice.

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    1. Were the minced version grated? Yes, it does sound odd- mincing them, since they are so full of water. I hope your kitchen is ready soon Fiona- it looked pretty well done last month in those photos you posted.

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    1. Hahahha, well yes… and no. I think he may not like that title as here, in the land downunder, the term ‘clever dick’ is often used to refer to a ‘smart arse.’ or someone who likes to sound their own trumpet, otherwise known as a ‘wanker’. Kyle is none of these things. Just a handy man with a good tool- no hang on, a handy man who uses his tool well…

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  2. Mr T is very fetching in his paraphernalia. My grandma made a cucumber version of almost exactly this same recipe and she called them Bread and Butter pickles. No idea why the name but they were a favourite of everyone in the family. I like your name tho ‘son in law’ pickles. 🙂

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    1. I am not sure about the answer to this question, but will get back to you after I consult further with my pickling book, where there will be a similar recipe for pickled cucumbers. It is definitely worth finding out as then we can process the zucchini for much longer.

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  3. Must try these! Love all pickles but sadly a lack of zucchini in these parts. Plenty of cucumbers and have already done 2 batches of those! As long was the tool in the tool box is sharp!

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  4. I’ve been creating a few pickles lately as well as using more zucchini isn dishes than I ever have — recipes to come. I’ve never thought to connect the two and pickle zucchini. I am definitely going to bife this a try come summer, Francesca. Thanks for sharing.

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