Sweet-and-Sour Curried Squash Pickles

  • Yield : 4 cups
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 5m
  • Ready In : 3:00 h

Got way too much squash on your hands, from either your or a friend’s garden? This quick pickle (adapted from Chris Schlesinger, John Willhoughby, and Dan George’s Quick Pickles) is a great way to make use of it all when you’ve run out of other options but are still overwhelmed by all the zucchini and summer squash that rolls in during the summer months. It goes great with anything off the grill, gives sandwiches and salads a nice little quasi-Indian zing, and the pickling juice adds terrific flavor to any sauteed dish where you want a Near East or South Asian touch.

Pickling has kind of a reputation for being difficult and labor intensive, but, in fact, it’s incredibly easy – all you’re doing is soaking vegetables in vinegar. People often mix up pickling and canning – preserving foods, especially pickles, in jars – and though canning’s also a lot simpler than you might think, it does take some time and a little specialized equipment. But given that uncanned pickles will keep for a month in the refrigerator, there’s usually no need to go down the canning route unless you’ve got a whole summer’s bounty to store up. (The Ball Blue Book‘s a great place to start if you’re thinking about getting into canning.)

Feel free to adapt this recipe as you see fit – chiles, onions, and raisins are all welcome additions, and you can use cucumbers instead of the squash if that’s what you’re currently overabundant in. Mix up the spices, add in different fruit juices – when you’ve got a lot of squash, you’ve got a lot of room to experiment.

COST PER SERVING: Around $3 for the whole recipe, though the squash came from a friend’s garden, so it cost me a lot less.



  • 1 1/2 pounds squash (summer squash, zucchini, or whatever you have), ends trimmed and cut into 1/8-inch rounds (If you have a mandoline, this is a good time to use it.)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch rounds
  • 1/8 cup kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup vermouth or sherry
  • 1/4 cup orange champagne vinegar (or 3/4 cup orange juice)
  • 1/2 cup water (omit if you're using the orange juice instead of the orange champagne vinegar)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice berries
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Step 1

Put the squash, carrots, and salt In a large glass, Pyrex, or otherwise nonreactive (not copper or cast iron) bowl, and toss to combine. Let sit for 1 hour. Drain in a colander and rinse well with water to get rid of all the salt. Let it sit in the colander to keep draining. Wipe out the bowl the squash was in.

Step 2

Put the rest of the ingredients in a medium nonreactive saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until the sugar's dissolved, 2-3 minutes.

Step 3

Put the squash back in the original bowl and pour the hot liquid over the squash. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.

Step 4

They're good to go once they're cool, but give them a few hours in the refrigerator to really develop their flavors. They'll keep, covered and refrigerated, for 3-4 weeks. If you're really feeling like a pioneer, you can can them in a hot water bath, though that's sort of a whole different topic of its own. (It's by no means hard, just a little time consuming.)

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