I have been making my own pickles for a couple of years now, but I’ve never shared my go to recipe! Homemade pickles are a game-changer for me. My favourite pickles (that I keep coming back to over and over) are based on the famous Zuni Cafe Zucchini Pickles via Gourmet Traveller magazine.
I was intrigued that the recipe used zucchinis instead of cucumbers, but I was an immediate convert. I love them on burgers, toasties and sandwiches, or even thrown into a salad for a sour-sweet kick. They are also delicious on a cheeseboard. I’ve even used the leftover brine to flavour my slow cooked meats!
I love browsing the jars of artisan pickles in the gourmet food shops, but they can be upwards of $15 sometimes! The zucchinis cost about $3 – they are in season right now, abundant and cheap! All the other ingredients were already in my pantry.
But it’s not just about saving money. I love the satisfaction of making things from scratch. But you definitely don’t need to live on a farm or grow your own vegetables to preserve things. I’m a busy girl living in a major city, and I truly think everyone should learn to do this!
You can make jams (sweet or savoury), pickles, shrubs, sauces and more with your leftover produce that completely transform the ingredients and extend their life. I am really excited about bringing you more recipes and ideas like this in 2019.
One of my goals this year is to also be way more mindful of waste, both in terms of food waste and excess plastic. I want to start buying all of my staples – grains, nuts, pasta, spices – from a bulk foods store to avoid packaging, and store them in glass jars in my pantry. I have a collection of jars ready to be reused for storage or homemade jams and pickles.
I love to shop at the Bondi Farmers Market… with a reusable shopping bag, of course! Another option is the ‘Imperfect Picks’ at Harris Farm. It is fantastic that we have the option to buy fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to landfill. And they are cheaper too!
I think preserving is a fantastic way to help reduce food waste and excess packaging in your own kitchen. It’s a great way to use up fruit and veggies that may be on their last legs in your crisper. All that is to say that I truly encourage you to try making your own pickles!
This recipe has a couple of steps, but it’s actually very easy. Don’t skip soaking the zucchini in ice cold water, and allowing the brine to cool. These steps help keep that fresh crunch of the zucchini. No one wants a limp pickle! You can enjoy these straight away, but they are even better after a couple of days in the fridge.
Related Post: Homemade Tomato & Chilli Jam (use both for the ultimate burger!)
My Favourite Zucchini Pickles
This is my absolute favourite homemade pickle recipe, adapted from Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. These Zucchini Pickles are perfect on burgers, sandwiches, salads or cheeseboards and the perfect introduction to preserving at home. If possible, begin this recipe 2 days ahead.
- 500 g zucchini
- 1 small onion
- 2 tablespoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
Use a mandolin or sharp knife to thinly slice the zucchini and onion.
Place zucchini and onion with salt in a large bowl and add ice water to cover. Stir to dissolve the salt and stand for at least 1 hour or until zucchini slices are tender.
In the meantime, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard powder and seeds and turmeric in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve and simmer over medium heat for a few minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Sterilise your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, rinse and then place in a 120°C (250°F) oven until completely dry.
Drain zucchini and onion and pat dry with paper towel. Divide zucchini between the jars and add the brine, ensuring all zucchini is covered.
Seal and refrigerate for 2 days to pickle. Pickles will keep refrigerated for at least 3 weeks.