Zucchini Mock Mini-Apple-Ring Pickles

I originally got this recipe in 1983 from my sister-in-law in Somerset, Kentucky.  The recipe called for pickling lime and a total of 27 hours of soaking.  Because of the time-consuming process, I only made them once but thought they were very tasty.

I noticed that Ball makes a Pickle Crisper that is much easier to use and does not require all the soaking time.  I thought I would revise the recipe to make a smaller batch and to use the new Ball product.  This is a much easier process and the pickle is still as tasty as I remembered it from 1983.

ZUCCHINI MOCK MINI-APPLE-RING PICKLES

  • 1 lb. zucchini (1-½ inch diameter)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup white vinegar, 5% acidity
  • 1 Tblsp. plus 1 tsp. pickling salt
  • 2 Tblsp. cinnamon candy red-hots
  • Ball Pickle Crisper (Calcium Chloride) – 1 tsp. for pint, 1/2 tsp for ½-pint, 1/8 tsp for 4 oz. jar

Peel and cut zucchini into ½ inch rings.  Using a paring knife, cut an “X” in the center of each ring and use the tip of the knife to cut out a small circle.

In a large saucepan, place granulated sugar, white vinegar and pickling salt.  Bring to a boil, then stir in the red hot candy pieces, continuing to stir until candy is dissolved.   Add the zucchini slices and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 2 minutes.

Sterilize an 8 oz. and a 4 oz. Mason or Ball jars and lids.  In the 8 oz. jar, place 1/4 tsp. of  Pickle Crisper and in the 4 oz jar, 1/8 tsp of Pickle Crisper.

Ladle in the zucchini and brine to fill jars to within ¼ inch of top edge.  Wipe edges clear and put on lids.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

Let pickles cure for at least two weeks before serving.

Yield:  One 8 oz. and one 4 oz. jar


The small jars would make nice hostess gifts and definitely are something a little bit different.  It’s easy to double or triple the recipe if desired.  Just be sure to put the correct amount of Pickle Crisper in the jar, based on the size of the jar.

DOUBLE RECIPE:
2 lbs. zucchini (1-½ inch diameter)
4 cups granulated sugar
2 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
2 Tblsp. plus 2 tsp. pickling salt
¼ cup cinnamon candy red-hots

Ball Pickle Crisper (Calcium Chloride) – 1 tsp. for pint, 1/2 tsp for ½-pint, 1/8 tsp for 4 oz. jar

TRIPLE RECIPE:
3 lbs. zucchini (1-½ inch diameter)
6 cups granulated sugar
3 cups white vinegar, 5% acidity
¼ cup pickling salt
¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp. cinnamon candy red-hots

Ball Pickle Crisper (Calcium Chloride) – 1 tsp. for pint, 1/2 tsp for ½-pint, 1/8 tsp for 4 oz. jar

This is a good website with information on canning:

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/preserving-canning/

German Stuffed Mango (Green Pepper)

grpepper

When I was growing up in Cincinnati’s East End, our German neighbors enjoyed something called a “Stuffed Mango”.  Most families made their own, but the Stuffed Mango was also available in the small groceries and delicatessens in the area.  I was in high school before I realized the “mango” was a green bell pepper.

In the 1980s when my husband and I lived in a spot called Blue Jay on the Ohio/Indiana border, we had a huge garden and a lot of green bell peppers.  My German husband recalled the old stuffed mango with fondness and before the days of the internet search, I tried to find a recipe.  I wound up combining several sources, including The Ball Blue Book of 1943 and a wonderful 1983 cookbook by Mary Anna DuSablon, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury*.  It wasn’t a difficult process to make the peppers but it did stretch over two days, all of the work being worthwhile when my husband tasted the mango and loved it.

I haven’t made the peppers for many years, but decided to reduce the recipe considerably and make just two which are not processed and are kept in the refrigerator.  They should be used within a week or so of their two-week curing period.  Here is the recipe for two German Stuffed Mangoes.

GERMAN STUFFED MANGO (Green Pepper)

  • Servings: 2 stuffed peppers
  • Print

  • 2 medium/large green bell peppers
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt
  • Cold water to cover

Stuffing

  • 2 cups finely chopped cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp. pickling salt
  • 1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 1-1/2 Tblsp. mustard seed

Brine

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Slice off the stem ends of peppers, cutting down about 3/4″ from top, reserve tops.  Core and seed peppers.  In each of two one-quart containers (Cool Whip containers work well), place 1 Tblsp. salt plus about half a container of cold water, stirring to dissolve salt.  Add one pepper and its top to each container.  Pour enough cold water over the peppers and their tops to cover.  Weigh down with something like a small custard cup to be sure peppers remain submerged.  Let stand on counter overnight.

weight

The next morning, drain and rinse the peppers and tops in cold water, then set on a rack to drain.

In a large bowl place the chopped cabbage and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. of pickling salt.  Stir and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, covered with a clean, dry towel.

towel

After 3 hours, add celery seed and mustard seed to the cabbage.  Stuff this mixture into each of the peppers, place the tops on and fasten shut by wrapping each pepper and top several times around with white cotton string.

tied

In a medium pan bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and immediately place the peppers in the brine, using a slotted spoon.  Allow to cool until lukewarm, occasionally spooning brine over the peppers.  Then, carefully remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and place in a refrigerator container.  Pour the brine over the peppers, cover and refrigerate.

stuffed

Peppers should be allowed to cure in the refrigerator for two weeks.

When ready to serve, remove the pepper from the brine and cut the string.  Remove the top and slice the pepper in half.

serving

Serve with sandwiches or as a relish/pickle with meals. 

Both the slaw and the pickled pepper itself are very tasty.  One-fourth of a large stuffed pepper is enough for me but my husband used to easily eat a whole pepper and the little bits around the top stem along with a couple of grilled bratwursts.

*This book, Cincinnati Recipe Treasury, is a great look at “The Queen City’s Culinary Heritage” which includes a lot of German recipes, but also Italian, Greek, French and other ethnic food, as well as southern dishes (Cincinnati is right across the river from Kentucky).  There are also some wonderful sketches of Cincinnati landmarks.  I haven’t seen the book in local stores lately but it occasionally shows up on eBay.

Zucchini or Yellow Squash Relish

In the 20 years that we had a country home, my husband had a huge garden where he harvested every kind of vegetable but was especially fond of growing zucchini and yellow squash.  I was overwhelmed with the quantity of produce and as a novice at country living, felt I had to use every single zucchini in the bottomless basket that he brought in every day.  I found a lot of recipes and this is one of my favorites – a sweet/sour relish that I made in large quantities and canned for the coming winter.

Now, that my husband has passed away and I’m living in a little bungalow with a small yard, I pick up my produce at the grocery store or farm markets and make a small amount of relish at a time – in this case, 1-1/2 pints.

ZUCCHINI OR YELLOW SQUASH RELISH

  • Servings: 1-1/2 pints
  • Print

  • 2-1/2 cups chopped zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
  • 2 Tblsp. pickling salt

BRINE:

  • 3/4 cup white vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric

FOR THICKENING RELISH

  • 1/2 Tblsp. cornstarch
  • 2 Tblsp. white vinegar

In a medium sized bowl, combine the zucchini/squash, celery, onion, red pepper and pickling salt.  Cover and let set at room temperature at least 8 hours.

Drain vegetables, rinse and drain again.

In a large sauce pan, combine the BRINE mixture:  3/4 cup vinegar, sugar, celery & mustard seed, and turmeric.  Bring mixture to a boil, then add the drained vegetables.   REMOVE FROM THE HEAT AND LET STAND FOR 2 HOURS.

Return the pan to medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Add the thickening ingredients:  Cornstarch and vinegar mixed together.  Let relish simmer at medium heat for 15 minutes.

Pour relish into sterilized jars and cap.  Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  I’ve found an asparagus steamer is good for processing just a few jars.  Let jars cool on a rack before storing.  Allow relish to cure for a week before using for best flavor.

This is a good web site  for information on canning and preserving foods.

Optional:  Add one-half of a medium dried red pepper to the jar after filling.  This “hot” version won a 2nd place ribbon at the Hamilton County Fair (Ohio) in 1988.

Yield:  1-1/2 pints