Learn how to pickle zucchini and store in the refrigerator, without canning, in just a few easy steps. These spicy refrigerator pickled zucchini are little spicy, a little sweet, and a whole lot of good.
I first discovered pickled zucchini when I visited a local sushi shop.
Their seasonal special?
A delicious sweet and spicy pickled zucchini that was the perfect compliment to my sushi bowl.
How To Pickle Zucchini
Sterilize the pickling jars.
When working with food for long term storage it is important to start with very clean and sterilized storage containers. There are several ways you can do this:
1. Boil method
2. Dishwasher method
Make your pickling solution.
Pickling solution usually starts with a base of vinegar, salt, and water. Sugar can be added as well for a sweeter pickling solution. Combine all pickling solution ingredients into a medium saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil and give a quick stir. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
Pick your zucchini.
While the brine cools, select the perfect zucchini for pickling. Small to medium sized zucchini are the best. You also want zucchini with a firmer texture so fresh zucchini is best.
Cut, dice, shred, or plane each zucchini.
Pickled zucchini can have many different shapes depending on its intended use. I like to have many different jars with a variety of different shapes. Use a grater to shred the zucchini or plane into little ribbons.
Add garnishes to sterilized canning jars.
You can add additional ingredients like garlic, onions, herbs, red pepper flakes, etc to further develop the flavor.
Fill the rest of the jar with zucchini.
Fill the rest of the jar to the top with zucchini, making sure to not overcrowd the jar.
Pour the pickling solution over the zucchini and garnishes and store in the refrigerator.
Pour the cooled pickling solution over the zucchini. Place the jars in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks before using.
Storing pickled zucchini in the refrigerator vs canning.
The best way to store pickled zucchini is in the refrigerator. Canning recommendations for zucchini have been removed by the USDA, so I have not attempted to can zucchini.
Other ways to preserve zucchini
I love to use zucchini throughout the year and usually have an abundance of leftover zucchini from my garden. So even after making tons of pickled zucchini I still have more zucchini than I can possibly use.
So I started to freeze shredded zucchini in portioned sizes that I can use as needed. It is an incredibly easy way to enjoy your summer harvest all year long.
Frequently Asked Questions
Make a pickling solution by boiling water, vinegar, and salt. For a sweeter pickling solution, sugar can be added as well.
Pickled zucchini can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
The amount of sugar can easily be adjusted to taste.
The possible flavor combinations are unlimited. Add additional garnishes like mango, jalapeno
Small to medium zucchini is best as they have less water content, a firmer texture, and superior flavor.
Yes, adding the zucchini to a hot pickling solution will likely change zucchini texture.
No, shredding is just one of many ways the zucchini can be prepared prior to pickling. Other options include dicing, slicing, quartering, ribbons, or julienne.
The USDA has removed their recommendations for canning zucchini. I am not clear on the reasoning and I have not attempted to can zucchini so I would recommend sticking with refrigerator zucchini pickles if you are not familiar with canning zucchini.
Yes, though this recipe recommends using a 3 cup mason jar, you can use whatever you have on hand and adjust accordingly. This recipe is very forgiving.
Spicy Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles
- 4 Mason jars that holds at least 3 cups
- grater (optional)
- 5 cups water
- 2.5 cups vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup salt
- 4 small zucchini shredded
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 8 tsp garlic minced
- 4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Sterilize the pickling jars
- Sterilize the pickling jars by boiling or putting them in the dishwasher. Allow to cool completely.
Make your pickling solution
- Make your pickling solution by adding the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a medium saucepan and bringing to a boil.
- Once the solution has come to a boil, remove from heat, stir, and allow to cool completely.
Prepare your zucchini
- Cut, dice, shred, or plane your zucchini to desired size and shape per preference. Set aside.
Make the pickled zucchini
- Add the onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the bottom of the jar.
- Fill the jar the rest of the way with zucchini, making sure to not overcrowd the jar.
- Pour enough pickling solution over the top of zucchini to completely submerge in liquid (about 1 to 1 1/4 cups). Place the lid on tightly.
Store the pickled zucchini
- Place the pickled zucchini in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks before using.
- The pickled zucchini can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 months.