Hot Cumin-Pickled Summer Squash

A jar of pickled summer squash
Number of Servings: 
Makes about 7 pint jars
Recipe Source: 
Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff ($27.50, Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, 2016)


  • 4 pounds yellow summer squash or zucchini
  • 8 ounces sweet onion (about 1 medium)
  • 14 cup plus 1 Tbsp pure kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 6 cups cider vinegar (5% acidity)
  • 2 tablespoons mild honey
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 7 small fresh serrano chiles


  1. Scrub the squash and cut it into 14 inch rounds. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and thinly slice it into half-circles. Put the squash and onion in a large bowl and sprinkle with the 14 cup salt, tossing to combine. Cover with a layer of ice cubes and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Pick out any unmelted ice, drain well, and rinse under cold running water. Toss with the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, and ground cumin and set aside.
  2. Prepare for water-bath canning: Wash the jars and keep them hot in the canning pot, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl.
  3. In a nonreactive pot, combine the vinegar, 1 12 cups water, the honey, and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a folded towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.
  5. Working quickly, pack the squash, onion, garlic, and chiles into the jars (not too tightly). Ladle the hot vinegar mixture into the jars, leaving 12 inch headspace at the top. Use a chopstick to remove air bubbles around the inside of each jar. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid and ring on each jar, adjusting the ring so that it’s just finger-tight. Return the jars to the water in the canning pot, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 15 minutes to process.
  6. Remove the jars to a folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours. After 1 hour, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each; if it can be pushed down, it hasn’t sealed, and the jar should be refrigerated immediately. Label the sealed jars and store.


The family and I went to Wilmington, North Carolina this past summer for a weekend of our favorite activities, new-town exploring and new-food finding. I bought a couple jars of Angela’s Pickles at the farmers’ market on the river, and when I opened them in the car to taste them (we often eat entire meals—messy tacos, whole cold-smoked mackerels, barbecue, etc.—on our laps in the car when we travel), I was blown away. This is a rough approximation of Angela’s squash pickles, a great way to use up a glut of summer squash.


Liana Krissoff

Liana Krissoff, a freelance recipe tester, editor, and writer, is the author of STC’s Secrets of Slow Cooking and Hot Drinks for Cold Nights. Krissoff lives with her husband and daughter in rural Carlton, Georgia. To learn more, visit her blog.