• 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • garlic
  • dill seeds
  • red pepper flakes

All I wanted was a recipe for dill zucchini relish. Everything online and in my cook books were way too much effort and time, too many ingredients, and contained sugar. I do not like sweet pickles or sweet relish. Why does every recipe have sugar? Anyway, after an afternoon of searching, I finally just made up my own recipe. I based it off of the ones I read about, but really, I never found what I was looking for. It’s probably because it’s all been done before and the best ones are the most popular.

But what if I’m not like everyone else? I don’t want to use onions or peppers in my relish, I just want a pure, simple, easy to make relish of shredded green zucchini. I want to make it without leaving my house for ingredients I don’t have on hand. This is the way The Leftovers Lady cooks, isn’t it though? I cut as many corners as I can in order to make things easier, cheaper, faster, etc. I’m sure I often compromise on taste or quality…but who has time for gourmet at every meal? I’m a working mother with a garden, and I’m busy! :)  Also, I want this to be very versatile. I want to use it in potato salad, tuna fish, on a hot dog, in a coleslaw. And as it turns out, my husband doesn’t like sweet pickles either. It’s savory and salty for this couple, when it comes to pickling. (Side note: if you want to give me your home made relish, which is sweet or has lots of great ingredients, I’m more than happy to take it and enjoy it)! :)

Isn’t there anybody out there like me? Well, where are your recipes and blog posts? After my very frustrating afternoon of reading and searching, I just got to it darn it, cause my son was getting bored with playing alone (and watching a movie), so my time was running out.

So this is for the canning friends out there who just want to make it NOW and who don’t want to go to the store to buy the missing pieces or who don’t want to soak anything overnight, or press through a colander, or any of those tedious steps. (As I said, I’m sure your pickles are great, and probably better than mine in some category, but I just can’t be bothered with all that!).

So the basic naked recipe is this:

2 1/2 cups vinegar (any flavor you want, 5% acidity)

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup salt (table, coarse, sea, kosher, any kind)

Heat these 3 ingredients in a pot until boiling. Keep lid on.

Before your brine boils though, shred some zucchini. I shredded 20 cups! Whoa!! Well, I was given 2 club sized zukes. I cut into long spears and took out the huge seeds. Then I ran them through my Cuisinart Food Processor on the shred cycle and it was done is about 5 minutes. Rinsed that machine clean and put it away. Very simple. (Get a food processor, if you don’t have one, they are the BEST!).

So I had my shredded zucchini ready (I only canned about 10 cups worth) and I got my 7 pint jars, lids, and rings boiling in the hot water bath. (I sanitize my jars in the same water I will boil them in later. It’s easy, fast, and doesn’t waste another pot of water).

When the jars are hot and the brine is hot, pull the jars out of the water and set on a towel on counter.

Into each jar I put the following:

1/2 teaspoon dill seeds, because who has fresh dill all the time growing in their garden??? I even have a garden and I never have enough fresh dill sprigs for canning. You can also add a dash of dill weed if you want to and have it in your pantry. Most pickles will call for a head of dill and they are referring to the plant, when it has gone to seed and has a “head” of seeds to harvest. Dill is required, in my opinion, when pickling.

dash of turmeric into each jar. This is optional.

dash of celery seed, black pepper corns, and yellow mustard seeds into each jar. This is optional.

Generous dash of red pepper flakes into each jar. (If you don’t have this in your spice rack, you might consider collecting a few packages of these from your next order of pizza. They always offer these in little packets on the side. It adds some good flavor to pickled things).

2 halved cloves of garlic in each jar. (I used my home grown crop. If you buy jars of fresh garlic, chopped, then just add 1/2 teaspoon to each jar.)

dash of cayenne is optional.

Once each jar is filled with spices, add shredded zucchini;  pack it in there until almost full.

Pour hot brine into each jar. I had enough space for 1 1/2 ladles full. Remove lids and rings from boiling water.

Add lids onto jars and screw on rings until just finger tip tight. Place into hot water bath.

Process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

In Summary: This is shredded zucchini with ONLY: water, vinegar, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes, and dill as the main ingredients. Everything else is optional. See? Isn’t that wonderful? Aren’t you glad you found this simple, quick, recipe for non sweet pickled zucchini relish? Okay, so I’m not sure if this will really become a popular recipe, but I’m VERY pleased with it. I’ll be honest, one jar broke open after cooking, when I was pulling it out of the water bath. I was very sad to lose it. But I was able to taste the shreds that stuck to the glass and it was very tasty. Just what I was hoping for; a basic zucchini relish to replace cucumber dill relish.

shredded green zucchini

Shredded green zucchini

pickled  zucchini preparations

When canning, get everything ready to go all at once, to keep ingredients and jars hot. Put all spices in bottom of hot jars, then fill with vegetable and brine.

basic pickled zucchini in jars

Fill jars until very full.

basic naked pickled zucchinii

Allow finished product to sit for 24 hours and rest before removing rings to check seal and before storing away.


Allow at least 3 weeks before opening pickled things, to allow all flavors to marry in the jar.

*This recipe will work for zucchini spears, rounds, or chunk.*