Well as the saying goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”  How about when life gives you strange mutated squash? Make PICKLES! :)

I have been gardening for over 10 years, on my own and every year I struggle with one crop or another and have success with another crop, in abundance. Last year was the year of the abundant yellow zucchini and I made everything imaginable out of it. This year my zucchini all came up in odd places (I suppose the hose watering shifted their placement) and they have seemed to cross pollinate with one another or perhaps they are volunteer plants from last year or from the compost. Who knows. But the fruit being produced is odd.

Here are some photos:

large yellow zukes weird

buttucchini

bulbous zuke

Here’s a helpful tip: When the zucchini or squash stem is thin and hard, as this one is, the fruit is usually dry and hard also. I had to peel this one. It has a hard shell and big seeds inside. When the stem is thick and juicy, the fruit is usually still soft and edible all around.

When I have cut into some of them, they have been hard, seedy, flavorless, etc. Well the Leftovers Lady doesn’t throw food away, so I’ve turned these things into pickles and relish.

My basic recipe is always the same. It’s tried and true. At this point, I’ve had many blog followers also tell me that they like my recipe best, when they pickle things. My recipes are always savory pickles. I never add sugar or cloves or cinnamon. And bonus: Because my recipe is basically the same for all veggies, I can use the same brine and pickle several things at once. So last night I pickled my zucchini alongside my green beans.

Mix  2.5 cups water with 2.5 cups vinegar and 1/4 cup of salt. Bring to almost boil. Don’t let it boil much because the vinegar will evaporate.

Prepare your jars, sanitize them and get them nice and hot.

Into each jar I sprinkled a few garlic cloves, some black peppercorn seeds, dill seeds, dill weed, celery seed, and mustard seed. Just a dash of each. I sometimes add a bay leaf and red pepper flakes. And sometimes even add some turmeric. You can spice it up however you like.

Pack the shredded zucchini or sliced zucchini into each jar after adding the spices. Then ladle hot vinegar mixture into each jar, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Secure with hot lids and rings and process for 15 minutes in the hot water bath canner. (This makes about 4-6 pints.)

Allow 3 weeks before opening, to ensure a good flavor throughout.

before pickling

Prepare everything for canning before you get the hot water bath going with the jars. It’s helps things go smoothly once you begin filling jars.

pickled squash and beans