Spicy Zucchini Pickles (Paleo Friendly)

These are the first pickles I have ever made (aside from ketimun). It instantly became my husband’s favorite. In fact, it’s pretty much all he’s been asking for since our zucchini started coming along in the garden. 🙂


4 lbs. medium zucchini
4 c. ice cubes
1/2 c. pickling salt
4 c. white vinegar
1 2/3 c. water
1 1/2 c. sugar (paleo update – use coconut sugar, or experiment with honey)
1 to 1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
6 small fresh red serrano or Thai chile peppers
6 small fresh green serrano or jalapeno chile peppers
6 bay leaves
6 tsp. whole black peppercorns
3 tsp. mustard seeds


  1. Wash your zucchini. Cut off the blossom ends and the stem. Cut the zucchini into about 3-inch-long spears that are about 3/4 inch thick. This should make about 16 cups of zucchini spears.
  2. In an extra-large nonmetal bowl, layer zucchini, ice and salt evenly. Weight down your mixture with a heavy plate and let sit for 3 hours.
  3. Remove any remaining ice from the zucchini and then strain out remaining water.
  4. In a 3-quart non-reactive heavy pot combine the vinegar, water, sugar (I used coconut sugar and honey) and crushed red pepper. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low to keep it warm.
  5. Pack the zucchini into 6 hot sterilized pint size canning jars,. In each jar add one of the red chile peppers, one of the green chile peppers, (I used all jalapeno peppers because that is what was from my garden) one of the bay leaves, 1 tsp. of the black peppercorns, and 1/2 tsp. of the mustard seeds.
  6. Pour the hot pickling brine into each jar to cover the zucchini, leaving a 1/2-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles in the jars with a non-metal spatula or a bubble freer. Add more of the hot brine if needed in order to keep a 1/2 inch headspace in each jar. Wipe the jar rims clean and adjust the two-piece canning lids.
  7. Process your filled jars in a waterbath canner for 10 minutes. (Start timing when the water returns to boiling). Remove the jars from from the canner and cool on wire racks.

Makes 6 pint jars.

This recipe is easily scaled up so long as you have the materials and storage space to hold the zucchini for 3 hours, etc. I doubled this recipe with little issue.

Let me know if you try this recipe and what you think of it in the comments below! 🙂


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