About a month ago, I posted this photo on my Facebook page.
Our first zucchini blossom!
About two weeks later, our baby zucchini sprouts turned into these huge plants.
What you can’t see in this photo are the two equally large plants in the box next to this one. I began scouring Pinterest for zucchini recipes, convinced that I was going to have zucchini coming out of my ears. I even started planning a zucchini themed dinner party. I was going to use zucchini in each dish and was going to pass out the recipes and let my guests take home zucchini as a party gift. However, shortly after taking the photo above, I noticed this little guy.
For those of you that do not know what that is, it is a squash vine borer moth. Ugh! From this point on, I became a vigilante. I checked the leaves of my zucchini (I had 6 plants in total) every morning and every evening. After the initial sighting, I never saw another moth. I thought I was in the clear.
Then, earlier this week as I was watering the plants, I reached in to harvest a zucchini and saw this:
The vine borers have attacked!
They got me for the second year in a row! I checked out the plant next to it. Infected. I went to the third plant. Infected! As were the fourth, fifth, and sixth. Those borers got every single one of my zucchini plants. Ugh!
I did manage to salvage a few zucchini before having to rip all of the plants out of the ground. The upside.
There are tons of ways to enjoy zucchini, but my favorite over the years has been to pickle it. If you have never made homemade pickles, you should definitely give it a try. Anyone can pickle because it really is as easy as 1, 2, 3. How easy?
- Can you boil water?
- Can you measure spices?
- Can you slice vegetables?
Yes, yes, and yes? Congratulations, you can pickle!
The recipe below was published in the LA Times in 2008 and is courtesy of the Zuni Café in San Francisco, California. San Francisco is such an amazing town for food. You literally cannot get a bad meal in San Francisco. It’s impossible.
I left my heart in San Francisco
If I can ever convince my husband to move back to California, we’re headed for the Bay Area.
November in California
Recipe from the July 23, 2008 LA Times
Zucchini Pickles. So Sweet. So Tangy
- 1 pound zucchini
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed yellow and/or brown mustard seeds
- Scant 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- NOTE: I added 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon ground ginger.
- NOTE 2: You do not need a mandolin. I have made these as rounds and as spears. This is just how the recipe was printed. Don’t let the mandolin deter you from making these amazing zucchini pickles!
- Wash and trim the zucchini, then slice them one-sixteenth-inch thick; a mandolin works best. Slice the onion very thin as well. Combine the zucchini and onions in a large but shallow nonreactive bowl (this just means not metal – something like glass, ceramic, or plastic), add the salt and toss to distribute. Add a few ice cubes and cold water to cover, then stir to dissolve the salt.
- After about 1 hour, taste and feel a piece of zucchini — it should be slightly softened. Drain and pat dry.
- Combine the vinegar, sugar, dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric in a small saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside until just warm to the touch. (If the brine is too hot, it will cook the vegetables and make the pickles soft instead of crisp.)
- Return the zucchini to a dry bowl and pour over the cooled brine. Stir to distribute the spices. Transfer the pickle to jars, seal tightly, and refrigerate for at least a day before serving to allow the flavors to mellow and permeate the zucchini, turning them a brilliant chartreuse color.