Recipe of the Week
Ruth’s old-fashioned zucchini pickles
7 lbs. zucchini or yellow summer squash
1 large sweet red pepper
4 large white onions
1/3 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
ice water to cover
2 cups cider vinegar
3-1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. turmeric
1-1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
Wash squash and pepper in plenty of cold water and drain. Slice squash on the diagonal into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut pepper in half, remove seeds and slice into pieces that are 1 inch long by 1/4 inch thick.
Peel onions, cut in half, and slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips.
In a large stainless steel bowl, mix squash, pepper, and onions with salt. Add just enough ice water to cover vegetables. Let vegetables stand for 3 hours, then drain.
In a sauce pan, mix together cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, and mustard seed. Bring this mixture to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Remove from heat as soon as it starts to boil.
Combine hot liquid with drained vegetables in a large sauce pan and bring mixture to a boil once again. Turn off heat as soon as the boil starts.
With a slotted spoon, fill jars with hot vegetables to 1/2 inch from the top. Divide hot pickling brine evenly among the jars without exceeding the 1/2-inch head space. Remove any trapped air from the jars by running the narrow blade of the spatula down the sides of the jar. Carefully wipe the rim of the jar with a clean cloth that has been wet with boiling water to remove any traces of food. Set the sealing lid on the rim of the jar and screw on the band until it is firmly in place. Do not force or over-tighten the band. Put jars in the canner. As you are placing the jars in the canner, set them so they are not touching each other or the side of the canner.
Add enough boiling water to the canner to cover the jars with 2 inches of water. Do not compromise this step; proper processing requires at least a 2-inch covering of rapidly boiling water. Less water may cause the whole procedure to fail. Process the jars in the hot water bath for 10 minutes. Store the pickles in a cool dark place for 3-4 weeks.