Sunday, February 17, 2008

CSA week twelve - pickled squash

A little belatedly for my initial post I realized that this week's full boxes represent a bumper crop and call for the traditional response: pickling.

I looked around a bit and found some worrying info on the subject from Utah State University:
"There are currently no safe, tested recipes for pickling summer squash followed by
boiling water canning. ... The heat required to can squash results in the squash flesh turning into mush and sinking to the bottom of the canning jar. The compacted flesh will not heat evenly. Therefore, all process times and temperatures are unsafe."

Huh. I did not know that. Well, refrigerator pickling is still an option. For my refrigerator pickles I use ceramic coffee jars. They're big enough to hold a full pound of vegetables, have a good tight seal and don't take up flavors. No real need for mason jars if you're not going to be boiling them.

I'm rather suspicious of a lot of the recipes now because many call for the full canning process and others call for simmering the squash for ten minutes. There are some mushy-looking pictures too so I guess they don't mind. I'm using this recipe minus the twenty minutes cooking time which I know is way too long for squash in any application. Don't people test recipes before sharing them? Anyway, the flavor combination seems interesting and I like that it doesn't go really heavy on the salt. The whole Tablespoon of cinnamon seems a bit odd and makes the brine a rich dark brown you don't see much in pickling, but it didn't enirely overwhelm the other flavors in the brine and the squash itself ought to balance it out. Remind me in a month and I'll tell you how it turned out.

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