Every season I make a bunch of old-fashioned brined pickles to keep us through the in-between seasons. Late summer and late spring are times when the old garden is dying and the new garden is not yet ready for harvest.
I prefer this form of food preservation over heat canning, because it preserves the nutrition in the vegetables better, and provides diverse beneficial probiotic bacteria that boost your immune system and aid digestion. Heat canned foods, in contrast, are sterile and cooked.
This recipe was originally passed down to me by way of one of those old note cards from Ethan’s Great Aunt Esther’s recipe library. She is an excellent cook, one of those old-fashioned cooks from back when food was cooked from scratch, and no one complained about it. This recipe was supposed to be for heat canning, but I have adapted it for lacto-fermentation/salt pickling instead.
Aunt Esther’s Yellow Squash Relish
3-4 small, tender yellow squash
2 Tablespoons fine salt (I always use Redmond for pickling – I like the grain of it)
1 hot pepper
1 Tablespoon coconut sugar, sucanat, or rapadura
Juice of 1/2 of a lime or lemon
1 Tablespoon whey
- Trim the squash and cut into a fine dice, paring out the seedy parts.
- Pack the hot pepper and diced squash into a quart-sized mason jar. Pack the jar tightly, and almost up to the top.
- Add the sugar, salt, lime or lemon juice, and whey on top, and then fill the jar until the liquid is about 1 to 1/2 inch below the top.
- Leave on the counter at room temperature for about a week to ferment. Taste the pickle after a week, and if it is tart enough, transfer to the fridge.