Back in June, it didn't seem possible that the day would come when I'd be tired of fresh garden vegetables. However, as it happens every September, I've hit the wall. I cannot bear to look another summer squash in the face.
Though I don't have a garden of my own, between my CSA share and the generosity of friends, not a moment has gone by this season when I did not have some stripe of fresh squash in residence. I've eaten them steamed, roasted, grilled, fried, stewed, au gratin and cooked into a spreadable dip. We are well acquainted, squash and I.
The breaking point came last week. Faced with yet another bag of squash (this time those tender UFO-shaped pattypans), I could not bring myself to steam and butter them (particularly since fingerling sweet potatoes are back!). Vinegar was my only option.
If you find yourself in similar squash straits, don't fret. Summer squash actually make wonderfully crisp and flavorful pickles that go really well on sandwiches or chopped and added to salads (julienned strips of these pickles are awfully good alongside autumnal dishes of roasted sausage and potato). You'll find that a single jar is never enough.
Before you Get Started
These are refrigerator pickles because I wanted to keep things easy. If you're someone who is short on refrigerator space, you're welcome to pack them into smaller jars and run them through a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. See previous In a Pickle columns for more details.
Before you add these pickle slices to a sandwich, quickly blot them on a paper towel. Soaking up that extra liquid will keep your bread from getting soggy.
I like to use a mandoline slicer to get uniform slices. If you decide to use one, make sure to use the finger guard. Nothing takes the fun out of pickling like a little blood.