These Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles are a fantastic way to use up that ever abundant late-summer zucchini. They are fun and easy to make and so tasty!
My first foray into refrigerator pickles was a seriously momentous occasion that took place just about 3 years ago. That post with my son, Ryan, remains one of my favorite of all time and the resulting Sriracha Refrigerator Pickles were a big success. I’ve had some very nice feedback from those of you who’ve made them – thank you very much! My pickle loving heart appreciates each and every one of your comments.
I’ve long heard that zucchini is fabulous pickled. This little kitchen project has been on my to-do list since last summer. I’m so glad I finally got around to trying to out because we are completely hooked. We’ve become a house full of die-hard Zucchini Pickle fans.
Due to the overwhelming response I received on my Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats, I’m guessing that more than a few of you might have piles of these versatile veggies lying around your kitchen. I hope you’ll find some time to give this recipe a try. Try the Zucchini Boats too… oh my gosh, yum!
Table of contents
Zucchini vs. Cucumber
Zucchini contains less water than cucumbers so less water is pulled from the zucchini during the brining process. This means there is less dilution of the brine. For this reason, I’ve upped the water to vinegar ratio as compared to the brine for my Sriracha Refrigerator Pickles. Zucchini won’t shrink and settle as much as cucumbers, so don’t feel the need to pack the jars too tightly. Fill them up close to the top, leaving about ½-inch headspace.
My vinegar of choice for this recipe is basic distilled white vinegar ( 5% acid). It’s bright, clear, and doesn’t affect the color of the finished product. It also makes for an excellent brine. It’s very inexpensive and I always have a big jug of it in my pantry.
It’s important to use coarse sea salt or kosher salt that does not contain iodine. Iodized salt can discolor your pickles and result in a cloudy brine.
Zucchini Pickling Spices
All pickles start with a seasoned brine of some sort. For the zucchini I went with black peppercorns, mustard seed, and dill seed. All of these should be readily available in the spice section of most grocery stores. I also threw in some halved cloves of garlic.
How to Make Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles
- Instead of adding the seasonings to the brine, I place them into the jars right off the bat. This ensures an even amount ends up in each jar. It works beautifully.
Filling the Jars
- Fill the jars with your sliced zucchini and a couple of sprigs of fresh dill.
If you don’t have any fresh dill on hand, you can substitute ½ teaspoon dill seed per jar. You’ll still get that nice, dilly flavor.
Zucchini Pickle Brine
- The water, distilled white vinegar, sugar, and coarse sea salt are brought to a boil. Then, the hot brine is poured right into the jars over the zucchini.
- Tightly secure the lids and shake the jars. Allow them to cool slightly on your kitchen counter for about 30 minutes. Then, refrigerate the pickles for 24 hours or more before eating.
Other Important Notes
- Pretty pickles: I made my chips pretty by slicing the zucchini with my Wavy Knife.
- Pre-cooking zucchini: I’ve seen other methods that instruct you to par-boil the zucchini or soak it in a salt water solution to soften it before adding the brine. I don’t recommend this. The zucchini will soften just the right amount from a good soak in the hot brine. Within 24 hours or less you’re going to have perfectly crisp-tender Zucchini Pickles on your hands. I believe this method makes it easier to avoid the dread of droopy, overly soft pickles. Nobody wants that!
- Water bath canning: This recipe is strictly intended to be a refrigerator pickle recipe. Do not attempt to use it for water bath canning as it will not result in shelf-stable jars of pickles.
- Storage: The pickles must be kept refrigerated and will stay fresh and tasty for 2 weeks or more.
Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles
- 1 ½ pounds zucchini, (3 to 4 medium-sized zucchini)
- 6 fresh dill sprigs
- 3 garlic cloves,, peeled and halved (2 halves per jar)
- 1 ½ teaspoons black peppercorns, (½ teaspoon per jar)
- 1 ½ teaspoons mustard seeds, (½ teaspoon per jar)
- ¾ teaspoon dill seed, (¼ teaspoon per jar)
For the Brine
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt or kosher salt, (not iodized)
- Wash your zucchini; trim and discard ends. Slice into chips or spears, as desired. Set aside.
- Divide the seasonings between 3 clean pint-sized mason jars. Divide the zucchini and dill sprigs evenly between the jars.
- Combine all brine ingredients in a medium saucepan and place over MEDIUM-HIGH heat. Bring mixture to a boil
- and then remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the hot brine into the jars over the zucchini and fresh dill. Fill to the top of the jar, leaving about ½-inch of head space. Tightly secure lids and shake the jars. Allow to cool slightly on your kitchen counter for about 30 minutes before placing jars in the refrigerator. Refrigerate for 24 hours or more before eating.
- Keeps well refrigerated for 2 to 3 weeks.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.