Turmeric Pickles

Turmeric PicklesNothin’ But Time
So here we are at the end of May still with a lot of time on our hands. If you planted a veggie garden at the beginning of all this, time may not be all that you have on your hands. My tomatoes have been going crazy, and even more so with the recent heat. I don’t have any actual tomatoes yet but they are definitely coming. What I do have are cucumbers.

I love cucumbers. I use them in salads, obviously, but I really like to use them by slicing them up and putting them along with a fresh mint sprig in a pitcher of water to keep in the fridge. The cold cucumber water is especially refreshing on hot days.

The best use for an over-abundance of cucumbers is, of course, pickles. These Garlic Dill Pickles are my favorite but sometimes the same old thing gets, well, old. My sister is big into pickling and has a number of favorite recipes—but the one I think she uses the most is the turmeric pickle recipe from the Mustard’s Grill Napa Valley cookbook that we highlighted for one of our Cookbook club dinners. Mustard’s is a Napa Valley icon and, since things seem to be opening up in those parts, it might be worth a trip in the weeks to come…

In the meantime, try these pickles if you have the inclination. They are excellent when made with both cucumbers or zucchini which means you will always have a way to handle an over-producing garden. I like to add a dried chili in there for a little extra kick….

Turmeric Pickles
Yields about 4 Cups
Adapted from Mustard’s Napa Valley Grill Cookbook 

6 to 8 small (3-inch-long) zucchinis or 12 to 16 pickling cucumbers
1 white onion
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cups champagne vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 generous slice fresh ginger, peeled
1 dried hot red chile, optional

Prep the veggies
Cut the zucchinis (or cucumbers) crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices. Slice the onion lengthwise into 1/8-inch thick half-moon slices. Place the zucchini (or cucumbers) and onion slices in a colander over a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Allow the salted slices to sit for 2 hours. Rinse with cold water, drain, and gently squeeze dry. Transfer the slices to a large bowl.

Make the brine
To prepare the pickling brine, combine the vinegar and sugar in a saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the turmeric, mustard seeds, celery seeds, and ginger and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Pickle the veggies
Remove the ginger and pour the brine over the zucchinis (or cucumbers) and onion. Add the chili, if using. Place a plate on top of them to keep everything submerged. Allow the pickles to sit in the brine for 24 hours at room temperature before using.

Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

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