Zucchini is a vegetable that is abundant in the late summer and early fall. It can easily be turned into pickles, which are a delicious and easy way to preserve this bountiful crop.
In this article, I’ll show you how to make bread and butter zucchini pickles. These pickles are perfect for topping sandwiches or salads or simply eating them as a snack.
Let’s get started!
Can You Use Zucchini Instead of Cucumbers for Pickles?
Zucchini and cucumbers are both common ingredients in pickles. They are both members of the squash family, and they have a similar crunchy texture that is perfect for pickling.
However, there are some key differences between these two vegetables that you should be aware of before using them in pickles.
For one thing, zucchini has a much higher water content than cucumbers. I’ve given you steps that include drying out the zucchini with salt before preparing the pickles – this will help you get around that issue.
In addition, zucchini skin is much thinner than cucumber skin, so it can break down more quickly during the pickling process.
But if you have zucchini on hand and you don’t mind a little extra work, go ahead and give them a try.
You may be pleasantly surprised by the results – and when you bite into one of these bread and butter pickles made out of zucchini, you probably won’t even realize they aren’t cucumbers!
Why You Should Make Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles
If you’re looking for a safe and easy way to preserve your zucchini harvest, look no further than bread and butter pickles.
This recipe uses vinegar to pickle the zucchini, so it doesn’t require a pressure canner. Plus, it’s safe, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Canning regular zucchini isn’t so safe, since there’s no tried and tested recipe. This recipe is!
Plus, it’s a great way to use up all those extra zucchini from your garden. Bread and butter pickles are perfect for snacking, sandwiches, or as a condiment.
Why Do They Call it Bread and Butter Pickles?
The term “bread and butter pickles” was first coined in the early 1900s by New York City pickle merchant Charles Griggs.
At a time when most pickles were sour and vinegary, Griggs decided to sweeten his pickles with sugar, creating a side dish that would pair well with bread and butter.
The name stuck, and soon “bread and butter pickles” became a common way to describe sweetened pickles.
Today, the term is used interchangeably with “sweet pickles,” and you can find bread and butter pickles made with cucumbers, onions, peppers, and other vegetables.
Whether you enjoy them as an accompaniment to a sandwich or as a tasty snack, there’s no doubt that bread and butter pickles are a delicious staple of American cuisine.
Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles Recipe
I LOVE bread and butter pickles; they are my favorite. Zucchini pickles taste very similar to pickles made with cucumbers.
If you are a fan of pickles, you can’t go wrong with this recipe. It’s a crowd-pleaser. You can expect to get around 6 to 7 full pints.
- 4lbs sliced zucchini
- 1 cup sliced onions
- ⅓ cup canning salt
- 2 quarts crushed ice
- 3 cups apple cider vinegar*
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 TBSP mustard seed
- 1 TSP turmeric
- 1 TSP celery seed
- 1 TSP peppercorns
*You can use white vinegar if you don’t have apple cider vinegar available. I’ve used both types with success!
Step 1: Slice the Zucchini
Slice up the zucchini in even pieces. Using a mandolin is the easiest way to get even pieces, but using a knife is fine as well. Slice up the onions, and place them in a large bowl. Pour the salt over top, cover with ice, and let stand for 3 hours. Rinse thoroughly after.
Step 2: Start Your Brine
In a large stockpot, combine the vinegar, sugar, and spices. Heat up to a boil. The turmeric will turn the mixture a yellow color!
Step 3: Add Zucchini and Onions
Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the zucchini and onion slices. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure to stir them!
While your mixture is cooking, it’s a good time to prepare your jars. Sterilize your jars in the dishwasher or by hand, along with the rings. Sterilize the lids in a stockpot of boiling water.
Step 4: Pack the Jars
Place the funnel in a cleaned, hot jar and pack in the hot zucchini, onions, and vinegar mixture. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace. Make sure you wipe off the rims, remove any air bubbles, and place them on the lids and rims for each jar.
Step 5: Process Your Jars
Process the jars for 10 minutes (pints) or 15 minutes (quarts). Once the processing time is over, remove the jars and set them on a clean rag to cool for 24 hours. Then you can put them into storage!
More Tips for Making Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles
For perfect pickles every time, follow these tips
Feel Free to Make These as Fridge Pickles – You Don’t Have to Can Them
These pickles can be made without any special canning equipment. Simply place the pickles in a clean jar and store them in the fridge.
They will keep for up to two weeks, making them a great option for those who want to enjoy the taste of summer all year long.
Use Small Zucchini
Zucchini pickles are a great way to use up small zucchini. Small zucchinis are best for this recipe, as larger ones are often seedy and tough.
Let the Zucchini Marinate in the Brine Overnight for a Stronger Flavor
The key to making flavorful pickles is to let the zucchini marinate in the brine overnight. This will allow the zucchini to absorb the salt and spices, resulting in a more robust flavor.
Cut the Zucchini Into Any Shape You’d Like
The best part about making zucchini pickles is that you can cut the zucchini into any shape you like. Slice them into rounds, dice them into cubes, or cut them into strips. Once you’ve cut the zucchini, it’s time to pickle them!
Feel Free to Add Other Spices
If you want, you can experiment with the spices you add. We recommend garlic, red pepper, cayenne, salt, pepper, etc – but feel free to get creative here!
Use Pickling Salt Only
The key to making perfect bread and butter pickles is to use pickling salt. This special type of salt is made without any additives, which can make your pickles mushy.
It’s also more coarsely ground, which helps to prevent your pickles from getting overly salty.
White Onions Are the Best
The key to making the best pickles is to use white onions, which are milder in flavor than other types of onions. Simply slice the onions thinly and combine them with thinly sliced zucchini, sugar, vinegar, and spices.
You can use red or yellow onions if that’s what you happen to have, but for the best results, go with white!
How to Use Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles
There are many ways to use bread and butter zucchini pickles. You can use them in sandwiches, of course, just like regular bread and butter pickles.
Or you can chop some up and add them to your salad for a crunchy twist. They also make a great addition to a charcuterie board.
These are the best pickles that go nicely with BBQ sandwiches. You can also use leftover pickle juice to make BBQ sauce.
Another way to enjoy them is to add them to your grilled cheese sandwich. And if you’re looking for something a little different, you can use them in your potato salad recipe.
Or how about marinating chicken in the leftover pickle juice? Pickle juice adds so much flavor to the chicken.
So the next time you’re looking for a tasty way to liven up your meal, try the bread and butter zucchini pickles.
How Long Will Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles Last?
If you store them in the fridge, you can expect them to stay fresh for up to four weeks. If you choose to keep them, they will last for a year or more. Either way, be sure to enjoy your pickles while they’re still at their peak of freshness.
So, there you have it! Everything you need to know about how to make bread and butter zucchini pickles. We hope that this recipe will inspire you to get in the kitchen and start cooking.
Pickling is a great way to preserve your summer bounty of zucchini, so consider these tips today. And check out our other articles on preserving and canning zucchini while you’re at it!
Rebekah is a full-time homesteader. On her 22 acres, she raises chickens, sheep, and bees, not to mention she grows a wide variety of veggies. She has a huge greenhouse and does lots of DIY projects with her husband in her ever-growing homesteading endeavor. Learn more about Rebekah here.