You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to make lacto-fermented summer squash and zucchini. Better yet, it’s a great way to use up all that extra summer squash and zucchini.
But first, a quick tidbit. A lot of people ask what the difference is between summer squash and zucchini.
Zucchini is a type of green summer squash but you can use any type of summer squash in these recipes. In the first picture below you’ll see a variety of summer squashes.
When my friend Amy told me she was fermenting summer squash, I asked her if she wouldn’t mind taking some pictures and writing up a recipe. Here it is:
Lacto-Fermented Summer Squash with Basil and Garlic
Ingredients (makes 1 quart)
— 3 medium yellow squash, summer squash or zucchini
— 1 head garlic (can be whole, smashed cloves, minced, or a combination)
— fresh basil leaves to taste
— 2 teaspoons sea salt (find good quality sea salt here)
— 2 tablespoons whey
— 1 – 2 cups filtered water
Wash the squash and basil well.
Cut squash into 1/4 inch slices.
Peel garlic and prepare as desired; smash the whole cloves, or mince it. Layer squash, basil leaves and garlic into a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.
Combine sea salt, whey, and 1 cup of water and pour over ingredients in the mason jar.
Add more water, as needed, until liquid comes to within about 1 inch of top of jar. Cover tightly and store at room temperature for 2-3 days then transfer to refrigerator. Ready to eat after about 7 days in the refrigerator.
I immediately gave it a shot and couldn’t believe how delicious this turned out. I couldn’t believe how crisp and fresh the zucchini stayed under the brine. I imagined the soft flesh of the zucchini may turn a little mushy as often happens with fermenting regular pickles. But this didn’t happen at all.
Then, I had an idea.
I thought to myself, “What if I just cut the zucchini into spears like regular pickles and added pickling spices?” I’d call them “zucchini pickles.”
I thought I was a genius. I was all ready to announce to the Blogosphere the latest take on home fermentation. It would surely spread like wildfire. I foresaw speaking gigs and book deals with the likes of Sandor Ellix Katz and Sally Fallon.
And then I checked the almighty Lord Google.
Ah. Not so new.
Oh well, fermenting fame will have to wait.
Still, fermented zucchini recipes are somewhat uncommon compared to other lacto-fermented vegetable recipes. So even though I’m not the first one to do it, you may have never thought to make zucchini pickles just like regular pickles.
This recipe calls for 4-5 small zucchini which will fit a quart-sized jar. But you can use any size, shape or color of summer squash you want. Most will be too long to fit into the jar. Just cut them down to size, save the extra bits and pieces and use them in Amy’s recipe above.
How to Make Zucchini Pickles
Ingredients (makes 1 quart)
— 4-5 small zucchini
— 1 bunch fresh basil or dill
— 1 clove raw garlic
— 1-2 tablespoons whey
— 1-2 tablespoons sea salt (find good quality sea salt here)
— 1-2 tablespoons pickling spices. Note: pickling spices usually contain variations of cloves, cinnamon sticks, mustard seeds, peppercorns and other dried herbs and spices. I usually buy my pickling spices pre-made at my local health food store.
— 1 quart filtered water
Quarter zucchini and/or slice into spears.
Put a clump of basil or dill at the bottom of the jar.
Pack zucchini tightly and add more herbs, garlic, sea salt and pickling spices.
Add filtered water and whey.
Make sure zucchini remains under the water. If needed, add a small weight or lid to keep the zucchini under the brine. A small bag filled with brine can also do the trick.
Be sure to leave an inch of space between the top of the jar and the top of the brine otherwise it can expand and explode the jar. Not good! If the brine rises near the top, loosen the lid to let the gas escape. You may need to pour out some of the brine.
Cover and leave in a corner of your kitchen to ferment for at least 3 days. Taste after a few days and put in the fridge when they taste like pickles!
They will last for months in the fridge.
Have you ever tried an unusual and/or uncommon lacto-fermented vegetable recipe?
I’d love to hear it.
Please share in the comments below.