Preserved Zucchini and Summer Squash

It’s a simple thing, really.
Until the end of August when the mere mention of it can make even the strongest person shudder with apprehension!

It’s one of those vegetables that we all look forward to in the beginning of summer, but by mid-August, there is such an over-abundance, you just can’t give it away. People see you walking toward them with a zucchini as big as a toddler’s whiffle ball bat, and they either pretend that they don’t know you, or they make a sharp left, and head in another direction to avoid you!

You can only freeze so much of it for breads and muffins. You can only make so many zucchini boats stuffed with saucy meat, or sautéed with summer squash and onions, or sliced into thin strips as fake spaghetti. Yep. I jumped on that wagon too.

Don’t get me wrong. I love zucchini. But I have had so much of it, I’m running out of ideas! So the last time I went to pick up my CSA box, Sally, the “pick up point person” was telling me that she’s been making bread and butter pickles from them. I thought that was an awesome idea… and as I was searching for a bread and butter pickle recipe… a thought popped into my head. Instead of pickles, which I really wouldn’t use much…what if I preserved them in olive oil?
IMG_3127This idea actually came from a friend of mine who shared some hot peppers preserved in olive oil with me a year or so ago. They were so delicious! I went through that jar in no time…putting them on sandwiches, grilled cheese, cottage cheese, and even cooked them in eggs, or threw a spoonful or two in sauce! So going on the premise of those hot peppers, I decided to do a little research and see if zucchini would do well in olive oil too. I’m thrilled to say that it does!

IMG_3098I found a recipe from Mario Batalli, in which he boiled the zucchini for a few minutes in a mixture of salt water and vinegar, and then placed it into a jar with anchovies and garlic. Mario also mentioned that as long as you keep the zucchini covered in olive oil, it would keep for up to six weeks in the refrigerator.


As hard as I try, I’m just not a fan of anchovies.
So as of now they weren’t even a consideration for this recipe.
That may change sometime in the future when I do like them.

IMG_3139And with those hot peppers still in my head, I started slicing zucchini and summer squash really thin on my mandolin slicer. I chose some hot peppers, such as cherry peppers and jalapenos… as well as sweet peppers to add to the jar. A few cloves of garlic roughly chopped and some chopped fresh basil finished it off perfectly.

Ok, I’m not going to lie to you here… I’ll come home from work, grab a fork and eat this right out of the jar. It’s just that delicious. You can seriously serve these as thin pickles. Throw them on a hunk of crusty bread alone…or throw them on a sandwich, like I did here with a thick slice of fresh mozzarella, a thick slice of tomato right out of the garden, a few leaves of basil, all topped off with the preserved zucchini and summer squash…served on fresh Italian bread… delicious.

IMG_3247The thing that I loved about this recipe the most, was that I took a taste of them immediately after I put them in the jar, and the flavors had just melded together so perfectly. Just a few minutes…and they were ready to eat. The next day, they were even better!

My first jar is almost used up, and I plan to get another jar made up this week. I’m thinking that if I slice the zucchini and summer squash and freeze it, I can do this all winter long!

All of a sudden, I find myself asking for zucchini!
Crazy, but true.

Life is good. It’s a “Zucchini is coming out of our ears….but it’s all good…and preserving it? Well, that just makes it even better…” kind of good…


Preserved Zucchini and Summer Squash
Makes 1 Quart

 Adapted from Mario Batalli’s Zucchine Sott’Olio

2 lbs zucchini and summer squash combined, sliced thin
4 cups water
1/3 cup sea salt
2 cups cider vinegar
3 cherry peppers, sliced thin
3 jalapenos, sliced thin
6 mini sweet peppers (red, orange, and yellow) sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
10 basil leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups olive oil (or more, enough to cover the zucchini in the jar)
½ cup white wine vinegar

In a large saucepan, bring the water, sea salt and vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat. Add the slices of zucchini and summer squash, and simmer for five minutes. Drain, discarding the water/vinegar mixture.

Place the zucchini and summer squash mixture into a large bowl, and add the cherry peppers, jalapenos, sweet peppers, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil leaves. Mix thoroughly.

Using a wide mouth funnel, add the zucchini mixture to a quart canning jar. Mix the olive oil and white wine vinegar together, and pour over the zucchini mixture until it is completely submerged in oil.

Cover and refrigerate. This will keep up to six weeks in the refrigerator as long as the zucchini remains submerged in oil.



55 thoughts on “Preserved Zucchini and Summer Squash

  1. What a pretty jar of fresh veggies! I think many of us are always looking for fun and unique zucchini recipes. Mario’s son will be attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (my hometown) and so will Madonna’s daughter this fall. My college town will be hoppin’ and who knows maybe I will be lucky to see them. I like Mario on the Chew – he is quite the character, so is Madonna for that matter 🙂

  2. I look for an excuse to eat these Prudy- on salad,on greens, sandwiches, on their own. Anything. Too bad I don’t live nearby, I’d gladly take your zucchini off your hands. I just tried a new recipe with it that I’m super excited to share.

    Great post ❤

    • Thank you so much Lisa! Yep, always have to keep them rotating… it’s so easy to get sick of the same old thing! Honestly though, I do love zucchini, the problem is, I’m the only one in the house that does. So that makes it very hard to serve it on a daily basis! ❤

  3. Great recipe idea for the zucchini/courgette glut… I know quite a few people who will be very grateful for this idea.
    I love your writing style! Funny, witty and sometimes very touching. I’m always looking forward to the next post. x

  4. I really love this idea, never even crossed my mind..I never did any canning or jarring and it looks swell… ty for sharing

  5. I am another with loads of zucchini and in need of something delicious to do with it. I also have all the other ingredients too. Can’t wait to try it – tomorrow?

  6. Fabulous recipe and photos! I am really into canning these days, and this sounds like something I would really like! I love the olive oil and vinegar mixture, as well as the flavor and punch given by the peppers. The colors are gorgeous, and that sandwich….
    I haven’t forgotten about your request to hear about how my slow-fermented pickles are doing: they’ve been in the refrigerator now for over 2 weeks and should stay there for yet another week or even longer, but I can happily say that all the bacteria has been absorbed in the fermentation process, the brine is perfectly clear and the pickles look as fresh and crisp as on the first day… I hope this means they turned out well! 🙂

  7. I love zucchini and have a post I’ve been preparing for today on a lovely Zucchini wrap recipe. I wish someone would leave jars of it on my front porch!

  8. How did you know I had a monstrous surplus of zucchini??? 😉 Thanks for providing a delicious alternative to the repeat recipes taking center stage in my kitchen!
    Off to wander your blog and see what other deliciousness I’ve missed during my absence….

  9. Such a great idea and so beautiful, too, Prudy! I laughed when you talked about all the types of zucchini dishes you’ve been eating. Those are the same ones we ate when our garden was producing! Love all the ingredients you added along with the zucchini, too!

  10. Ok that does it I’m moving near you. I LOVE these pickles, brilliant brilliant, delicious. I could eat them right out of the jar with some good bread, would be great on sandwiches oh my, love this recipe and making them as soon as I get some zucchini which will be tomorrow!!

  11. Prudy you have to be ready, sooner or later I’m going to knock at your door in oder to eat all the amazing things you prepare.. These preserved vegetables look very yummy (look at that sandwich, he’s very proud do be there with those zucchini!)… love the written “made in italy”, it make me feel more comfortable :)))

  12. Prudy – I’m a huge fan of zucchini – and I know I’d LOVE these preserved zucchini. Your sandwich photograph made my mouth water. Be so good in a muffelata type sandwich. I don’t have a garden this year and no over-abundance of zucchini to deal with. Sad really. I want you to come visit Kingston. You could drive over one weekend this fall – or we could meet in Niagara-on-the Lake? (sub-text -you could bring me a jar of these…) Billion hugs. ❤

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