As most gardeners know, it’s easy to accidentally grow a giant zucchini. It is the usual outcome of leaving a zucchini plant untended while you take a weekend away.
Fermented zucchini relish is my answer to an over-abundant crop. The relish is salty, sweet, and tangy. Perfect for a summer BBQ or a cheese platter.
Even if you are new to fermenting, it’s easy to make zucchini relish. It doesn’t require any cooking, all you have to do is pack the ingredients in a jar and let fermentation do all the work!
Long-term storage of fermented zucchini relish
If you end up with a lot of zucchini, then it’s pretty handy to make a LARGE batch of zucchini relish. Here are a few ways to store your relish for the winter.
Zucchini relish can be left on the shelf of a dark cupboard or closet for a really long time. It will continue to ferment for around a month until the vegetables are very soft and fully fermented.
If you want to keep your relish in a cupboard for up to six months, here are a few changed you need to make to the recipe:
- Increase the salt to 1 Tbsp.
- Make sure you start with a sanitized jar. Just pour boiling water into the jar and leave it for 5 minutes to kill any wild yeasts and bacteria.
- Use a jar with a fermentation-specific lid, like a fido jar, however, you could use a mason jar with an airlock or a pickle-pipe lid.
- Don’t add any sugar or vinegar until you are ready to start eating the relish.
Fermented condiments will last for several months in the fridge. I say 2 months in the recipe, but to be honest, I’ve never had a fermented condiment go off, so I really don’t know how long they’ll last!
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Use an air-tight lid to prevent unwanted fridge smells from getting into your relish. It may still be a bit bubbly, but the cold temperature should slow that down.
- No double-dipping! Always use a clean utensil to prevent contamination.
The freezer is a great way to store fermented condiments. They’ll remain probiotic and delicious for several months! Either freeze in plastic containers, or straight-sided mason jars. (I recommend 1-cup portions). Then defrost for 24 hours before serving.
Canning Zucchini Relish
Canning will kill all the yeasts and bacterial in your relish. So it won’t be probiotic. However, the jars of relish will be shelf-stable for years. And they make excellent gifts. I usually can a batch of zucchini relish every few years, just as a backup for when my fermented jars are finished.
If you want to can zucchini relish for long term storage the follow these rules:
- After fermenting, drain the excess brine. Put the fermented vegetables in a pot then add 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup vinegar.
- Bring everything to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes to reduce the liquid.
- Pack into 250ml mason jars. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. If you don’t know how to do this, then Bernardin has a good tutorial on how to process high acid foods.
Fermented Zucchini Relish
Need a way to use up some giant garden zucchinis? Zucchini relish is a savoury and sweet condiment that is perfect with cheese or for a barbecue. This relish is fermented rather than cooked to soften the vegetables. Not only is fermenting EASIER than cooking, it also is probiotic!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 quart jar 1x
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Fermented
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
- 3 cups grated zucchini
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1/2 of sweet red pepper, finely diced
- 2 1/2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp grated horseradish (optional)
- 1 to 4 Tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1 to 2 Tbsp cup cider vinegar (optional)
- Combine all the vegetables in a bowl, then mix in the salt and spices.
- Pack the vegetables into a quart-sized (1 L) jar for fermenting. Use a spoon to really pack it in. The zucchini should sweat off enough liquid to cover the vegetables. It won’t fill the jar, but it’s easier to pack into a larger-sized jar.
- Use a weight to keep the vegetables below the brine. Cap with a lid that will keep the fruit flies out while allowing the ferment to bubble (see notes for options).
- Ferment in a cool dark location for 3 days. A kitchen cupboard is perfect.
- After fermenting, drain off the excess liquid (about 1/2 cup). Otherwise, it will be a bit too liquidy and salty.
- At this point, you can add sugar and cider vinegar, to taste.
- Store in the refrigerator and eat within 2 months, or see the section above for information on options for long-term storage.
- I usually do most of my fermenting in fido jars, however, you could use a mason jar with an airlock or a pickle-pipe lid. You could also go low-tech, and just cover the jar with a loose-lid or tea towel.
- Homegrown, organic zucchini should have the bacteria it needs to culture this ferment. If you are concerned, then feel free to use a vegetable starter.
- Powdered turmeric often contains sulfites as a preservative. However, it doesn’t seem to be enough to curb the fermentation in this recipe. If you have access to fresh turmeric, then feel free to use 1 tsp of grated turmeric instead.
- Fresh horseradish is pretty hard to find. So feel free to replace it with homemade prepared horseradish (not store-bought which is VERY high in sulfites). Otherwise, skip it altogether.
Keywords: gluten free, vegan, keto, paleo, whole 30, sugar free, probiotic, preservation, summer, fall, garden, relish, chutney