Sweet Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles Recipe

by Dorothy Reinhold on July 30, 2010

Print This Post Print This Post Sweet Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles on Shockingly Delicious

I love pickles, but I don’t love the labor and heat of canning.

I love cucumbers, although I don’t have any in my garden. But I have two zucchini plants that are as big as my 3rd grader, and as prolific as all the jokes say they are.

What should I do with all that zucchini? Of necessity was born the latest creation – zucchini refrigerator pickles!

These things are great and even zucchini haters will like them. You most likely won’t be able to tell it isn’t a cuke.

If you aren’t an urban farmer and don’t have a zuke plant of your own, you will find abundant locally grown zucchinis at farmers markets. Or put the word out to a couple of neighbors, and before you know it, the green things will be appearing on your doorstep, gifts from the zucchini fairy.

Update: My recipe was featured in the July 2010 Grow Your Own roundup.

Sweet Zucchini Refrigerator Pickles

2-2 1/4 pounds small zucchini, scrubbed and cut into spears, skin left on
1 onion, peeled and sliced
Fresh dill sprigs
3 coin-sized slices fresh ginger, slivered
1 large garlic clove, peeled and slivered
2 teaspoons mustard seed
Coriander berries or seeds (if you have any)

3 cups rice vinegar (or use apple cider vinegar or a combo of the two)
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1 7/8 cups cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
3/4 teaspoon celery seed

Make brine: In a small saucepan, bring all brine ingredients to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Pack jars: While brine is cooling, pack zucchini spears, onion slices, dill sprigs and slivered ginger and garlic into clean jars that have “shoulders” to hold the veggies beneath the brine. Sprinkle 1/2-1 teaspoon peppercorns into each jar, and sprinkle each jar with mustard seed and coriander berries, if you have any. (You may omit peppercorns, mustard seed and coriander berries, but it will be more authentically pickley if you use them.)

When brine is cooled, stir it and pour it into each jar to the top. Discard any extra brine. Place lids on and refrigerate 4-5 days. Be sure to agitate the jar at least once a day when you open the refrigerator.

These will last until you eat them all. Then make more! You may use the same brine again, and simply insert more sliced zucchini into the brine. Toss the wilted dill and replace with new.

Size note: You may also slice the zucchini crosswise, 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, if you prefer your pickles round like silver dollars.

What jars to use? Old pickle jars or Classico spaghetti sauce jars work well, as will 1-quart wide-mouth types such as Mason jars. If you use plastic containers, make sure they are old because the turmeric will likely stain them yellow, and you won’t want to stain your good Tupperware.

Warning about turmeric: And speaking of turmeric, it will also stain your clothing and your white Corian countertop or your grout, so take care when you are pouring the brine into the jars, or even measuring out the dry turmeric powder.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Colleen July 26, 2020 at 10:13 am

Do you have to squeeze the air bubbles out, like ya do with dill pickles, sometimes they go bad, , just a thought


Dorothy Reinhold July 27, 2020 at 6:34 am

Well, since these aren’t canned and stored in the pantry, there really aren’t any bubbles to “get trapped.” These are stored in the refrigerator, so the pickling liquid can slosh around and there aren’t any air bubbles because they are not tightly packed.


S Beers August 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm

Good recipe. Made them yesterday and they are already tasting good.


Dorothy Reinhold August 8, 2013 at 5:39 am

So glad! I do the same…start snitching them early.


Ann Odle July 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I’ve never made pickles, but these sounds pretty good; may have to give them a try.


Carolyn West July 5, 2013 at 10:28 am

I love pickling everything. Yum. Never tried zucchinis before but I think I will now.


Caryn/The Mid Life Guru July 5, 2013 at 10:20 am

These sound wonderful and a foolproof way to get my family to eat zucchini. Thanks for sharing!!!


Melanie July 5, 2013 at 9:28 am

This sounds delicious! I’ll have to try it.


Donna Nugent August 3, 2011 at 9:21 am

Made about 5 quarts yesterday and my son sneeked one and left nothing behind but an empty jar. The only adjustments I made was using a combination of white and cider vinegars (used what I had). I also started out with spears and quickly changed to chunks.
I did, however, processed them in a hot water bath for 20 minutes.
Next time I plan to use Splenda instead of sugar.
Thanks for the recipe.


Dorothy August 3, 2011 at 3:38 pm

How industrious you were to make 5 quarts! You must have had a bumper crop!
I am so glad you liked them (as did your son). 🙂


LunaCafe August 4, 2010 at 3:28 pm

I was just looking at the baby zukes at the market last week and wondering if I could pickle them. Now I have the answer. Love the fresh ginger. Thank you! 🙂 …Susan


Sean August 3, 2010 at 7:17 am

I’m the founder/moderator of Punk Domestics (http://www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for people who are obsessed with, er, interested in the old foodways. Pickling is one of our major topics and is trending really hot right now. Would you consider submitting this to the site? It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. Thanks!


Chef Dennis July 31, 2010 at 8:13 pm

what a great idea, I would never have thought to use zucchini and we certainly have a lot of it around……and who doesn’t love pickles!
Thanks so much for sharing this with us!


sippitysup July 31, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I am not a zucchini hater (at all) and I just know that these pickles are going to have a denser more satisfying bite than standard dills! GREG


Gudrun July 31, 2010 at 10:34 am

I was just thinking about zucchini pickles this morning! I have a recipe from my grandmother for Zucchini pickles that I want to try, thank you for the encouragement.

Hope you will consider participating in this month’s Grow Your Own blogging event, where we celebrate home gardeners and their bounty. Your pickles would be a fun addition!



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