Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Zucchini Abundance

Aren't zucchini flowers beautiful?  I know that they are edible but i love to see them in the morning when I'm watering.  Such a happy colour.   My garden does not produce a huge harvest but one veggie i seem to grow easily is zucchini.  With that comes the occasional glut and so Ive been spending the last few days thinking of ways to use them up.

One way is to take a walk next door and hand them over to my neighbour.  My produce is always greatfully received and they appreciate the effort I'm going to with my garden.  What was previously a Kikuyu patch is now a productive veggie garden and they know it gives me pleasure.

Of course another way Ive been using them is simply to cut thick slices and gently fry them till golden with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  I used them as a base under some left over homemade meaty bolognaise sauce the other night and it was very tasty.  Much lighter than a pasta meal.

My favourite (and my husbands) is Zucchini Slice .

I sometimes add bacon but this vegetarian version went down well for dinner with a salad and then packed into lunch boxes the next day.  It also freezes well.

So what to do with still more to go.  Ive procrastinated over preserving for so long.  I'm afraid of failure.  I read so many blogs and they make it look easy but for some reason i have never taken the leap.  So with encouragement from food preserving master, Jessie of rabidlittlehippy,  i took my first step towards making relish.

I don't have a Vacola kit nor Fowler jars and so my first trip was to the garden shed where i have a collection of bottles put aside for reusing.  I first had to soak them and use eucalyptus oil to get the labels off and then after a thorough scrubbing i placed them in my pasta pot.

This has an insert that keeps the jars off the bottom of the pan and so was perfect.  If i was using a normal pot i could have put a cake rack or just a towel in the bottom to keep the glass jars from resting directly on the bottom of the pot. Submerge jars in water and bring to boil, turn down to simmer.

Next i diced the zucchini (1 large or 700gm) and a red capsicum (1 large) to about the same size as the corn kernels (1 Cup).  I love these three colours together.  I placed the zucchinis into a bowl with a diced onion (1 med), mixed through a tablespoon of salt and then placed the bowl in the fridge for two hours.

The salt draws out the bitter juices from the zucchini and onion.  Drain and rinse thoroughly under cool water to remove the salt.  Place zucchini, onion, capsicum and corn into a large pot.

During the 2 hour wait, measure out the spices and liquids.

4 tspn turmeric
4 tspn mustard powder
1 tspn allspice
1/4 tspn curry powder
1 tblspn salt
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
1 cup of white sugar
1 tblspn vegetable oil

I blended all these together to make first a paste and then a pouring fluid.  Pour over veggies in pot, bring to boil and then simmer for 1 hour stirring frequently.  This is where i became frustrated.  My gas stove wont hold a simmer, it blows out.  Yet another item on the never ending list of household jobs.  The stove top is 18 years old and it probably needs a new regulator.

During this hour, remove your jars with tongs from the hot water and place in a very low oven.  The jars will be dry, hot and sterilised, ready for the hot relish.

Once the hour is up, blend together 2 tblspns of cornflour with 1 tblspn of water and blend through.  Cook for further 5 minutes.  This will thicken the sauce.

Spoon hot relish into hot jars (carefully using tongs to handle) until full and place lids on firmly.  My Mum then told me to turn the jars upside down so that lid is on the bottom and place back on oven shelf.  Turn oven off and allow jars to cool in oven.  Another way of doing this would be to cook relish for 30 minutes, fill jars and then when sealed place into hot water bath (in my case pasta pot) and cook for another 30 minutes.  The objective being to kill all the baddies and preserve the relish.

This made 3 jam jars of relish. Not alot i know but i didnt want to waste too many ingredients if it all went bad.  It will take a month to mature and for the spices to mellow. If ive done it right it should store for up to 12 months.  I did dip my finger into the pot when it was cool and the sauce was yum.

It wasn't so hard and actually a bit of fun (minus the stove issues).  So, my preserve collection begins.  I still have several zucchini's left and more on the way which may find there way into a cake, fritters or more slice. Oh, remember to date and if planning to gift then include ingredient list on a label.

I cant wait for the tomato season to be in full swing.  Im planning on sauce, relish and pasata.

Thanks for Visiting Living In The Land of Oz


  1. I made zucchini relish too. My recipe is different to yours though. I posted mine on my blog today if you are interested. I halved the recipe and ended up with 9 smallish jars, which will be plenty for us. One jar has walked out the door already as a friend was here while I was cooking. Thank you for your recipe, I will save that one for another time :)

    Happy New Year Lynda!

  2. You don't need to pressure can these for storage? Or are you planning on short term storage for these? In the US, for long term storage everything is pressure canned or water bath canned - depending on the acidity of the food. The recipe sounds delicious. We are going to work on food storage here too. I'm hoping to really work on the garden and then preserving the food - I feel like I don't do a good job saving the food and we have a lot of waste - which is terrible, especially because of the hard work we put into the garden. We need to purchase some right tools (dehydrator, pressure canner etc.) - but we should be good. And I agree, the blossoms are beautiful!

    1. My recipe said it was OK for 6-12 mths. I doubt that these 3 jars will make it past 4 mths. I love relish on all things especially cold roast meats and eggs dishes. The slice was lovely with a little sweet chilli sauce so that might be one on my list to make. Ive been looking around for a proper Vacola kit so i can water bath but i dont want to jump in and over invest(my usual routine) in case i lose interest.

    2. he sugar and the vinegar in that recipe will preserve it without pressure canning. :)

    3. This is good to know! I didn't think about the vinegar part...I've canned VERY little...I need to learn everything.

  3. My Zucchini's haven't flowered yet (I planted them late), but as soon as I get some I will have to try this recipe. It is so satisfying making your own preserves. I've only made jams and marmalade so far. One thing I'm so looking forward to is making my own cherry jams, I love Cherrys so I keep planting cherry trees. Soon my plums will be ripe, and there will be beauiful Plum jam (from Satsuma plums).

    1. Im looking forward to your plum season also. Ill have the fresh or preserved thanks Ella.

  4. Come and play with my vacola kit. :) Or better yet I'll loan it to you. I have my pressure canner which also water baths. :) There's a seller in Ballarat who seems to sell the cheapest jars I can find (and as I don't pay postage it keeps down the prices even further). I will have HEAPS of bottling to do, probably on the hottest days possible in February (that's how it always seems to work out) so I'll let you know. Come up and we shall bottle until stupid o'clock. :D
    And as for being a master, are you kidding me? ;) Maybe not beginner any more but novice? Yep, definitely a novice bottler and canner. I've only been bottling for 2 years and pressure canning for 1 but I have done a large quantity of both. :)

  5. Hi Lynda, I love zucchini I cant wait until mine are ready, no sign yet though. Im yet to learn about this canning. Im looking to buy a vacola kit. I need to learn as much as I can. I must say I love zucchini slice.

  6. Lynda, I love the idea of bolognese sauce over fried zucchini. There is another gluten free meal for me. Ta! Last year I ran out of inspiration and just grated the zucchini in my food processor and froze it. It has been brilliant all year, I just throw it, still frozen into soups, stews, bolognese.. and it disappears completely, and no-one realises it is there:) Sneaky mummy tips.

    1. I do the same! :D You can hide grated zukes in pretty much everything. I wonder if I could hide it in ice-cream? ;)
      Another way to get kids to eat it is to make zucchini and lemon butter. Yep, weird I know but it works!

  7. Jessie, please do post your zucchini lemon butter recipe! Or was that zucchini, with lemon butter on it?


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