Squash is ubiquitous in Texas. Farmers grow squash on a commercial scale and backyard gardeners also love to plant squash because it is easy to grow and everything edible in a squash plant is nutritious. During harvest season, you will find many squashes and pumpkin-flavored food and drinks in Texas (and in many parts of the US as well).
Growers often find their storage with pumpkin and squash surplus, this after generously giving some to neighbors and cooking squash and pumpkin in many different ways. To save the squash from going bad and getting thrown out, you can cook it and freeze it for later use/consumption, or make squash pickles. Texans love pickling, and the wide assortment of pickled food is a testament to that, including squash pickles.
Squash Pickles Trivia
- Americans celebrate National Pickle Day every 14th of November.
- An average American can eat around 9 pounds of pickles annually.
- Part of the American soldier’s food supply during World War II are pickles.
- Pattypan squash, which is commonly used in squash pickles sold commercially, is also called scallop squash.
Squash Pickles Buying Guide
Where to squash pickles? Your first stop should be the supermarket or grocery. You should find this in the condiment aisle. If it is not available there, look for it in specialty stores, the farmers market, or from local artisanal pickle makers. You can also buy online which is convenient, but buying from the store is still better because you can inspect the product before you pay for it.
Squash pickles are in stock all year long, so there is no need to hoard and buy large quantities unless it is necessary (i.e. for catering, cooking for several guests, using them as gifts or giveaways, etc.)
If this is your first time buying squash pickles and you don’t know which brand to buy, ask family and/or friends for recommendations or read online reviews, specifically about the brands available in your area. Prioritize buying locally-made products.
When buying a bottle or jar of squash pickles, make sure to check the expiration date or best-before date. Check the packaging for signs of tampering or product safety issues. The safety and quality of the product may have been compromised during transport and handling. In any case, do not buy a bottle of squash pickles with damaged packaging. Report this to the store attendant so that it is checked, and if necessary, removed from the shelf to avoid having customers less attentive to details buy it.
Squash Pickles Production & Farming in Texas
Squash is abundant in Texas all year long, and most especially during peak/harvest season. If you are in Texas, you can find branded or homemade squash pickles in groceries, supermarkets, farmers markets, or specialty food stores. Texans also love pickling. Thus, it is not surprising that squash pickles is a popular food in Texas.
Pesticides, Additives, and Chemicals:
Many homemade or artisanal squash pickles promise all-natural ingredients.
Squash pickles made for commercial sale undergo production processes that include using preservatives. Below are some of the preservatives that you may find in your squash pickles.
- Sodium benzoate is added to improve the shelf life of the product.
- Alum is used to make the texture of the pickled vegetables crispy. This food additive is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
- Sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite are used to help preserve the pickled vegetables inside the glass bottle.
- Sodium chloride is used for preservation and to improve the taste.
- Citric acid is used to boost the acidity or the sour flavor of the squash pickles.
Unlike other kinds of relishes or pickled food, it is unclear where squash pickles originally come from. It does not help that today, no single place or country is claiming that pickled squash is theirs. Maybe this is because squash and pickling are both found in many parts of the world, and it is not surprising for crafty and smart cooks to start pickling squash to save them from going bad in storage.
Squash pickles are sold in glass bottles or jars with a lid secured by a safety and quality seal. The glass bottle or jar is usually transparent so that you can see the product inside. It adds to the product’s potential to be appealing; appearing delicious encourages the shopper to buy it. An important part of the packaging is the label, which contains all the important information the consumer needs to know – the name of the company of the manufacturer, best before date, nutritional data, storage instructions, the place where it was made and bottled, bar code, etc.
Enjoying Squash Pickles
Like any pickle, squash pickles are commonly consumed as a side dish or a relish. To anyone who loves squash pickles, this side dish can go well with almost anything; red meat, fish, or vegetable dish. It is a great ingredient to add to salads or sandwiches. I won’t be surprised if a homemade hotdog sandwich or burger includes squash pickles. You just need to use a clean serving spoon to scoop just enough from the jar or glass for the meal you are having and that’s it! Enjoy your squash pickle.
Squash and pumpkin are nutritious, so it is not surprising to find squash pickles as nutritious and beneficial to your health. It has carbohydrates, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, magnesium, and potassium.
Storage instructions slightly vary depending on whether your squash pickles are store-bought or homemade but here are some general guidelines to follow. If it is store-bought, read the storage instructions so that you’ll know if it needs to be refrigerated or if it is shelf-stable even after opening. The smart move is to refrigerate. Do not store it with the container open and without a lid; storing it like this may cause the squash pickles to go bad even if refrigerated. It may absorb the smell of the other items in the refrigerator. If the bottle or jar of squash pickles is shelf-stable, do not store it where it is exposed to direct sunlight or where it is too hot. High temperature may affect the quality of the squash pickles, even cause them to go bad.
Make your own homemade
Why make your own squash pickles? Why not? If you have guests who haven’t tried it, you have the honor of introducing them to a delicious relish. If the people in your house love this, you can expect them to have a very satisfied and filling meal. If for some reason, they do not like it, then there is more for you and those who do enjoy this kind of food. Win-win situation, right?
Yield: This recipe makes 4 pint jars
- 2 pounds of zucchini, sliced into rounds. You can also use other kinds of summer squash.
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips.
- 2 onions, thinly sliced.
- 1/4 cup salt
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon celery seed
Step 1. Put the zucchini and onions in a pot.
Step 2. Add the salt and pour water enough to cover the zucchini and onions. Leave it for 2 hours.
Step 3. Strain using a colander before rinsing the zucchini and onions with cold water. Drain thoroughly.
Step 4. Boil the vinegar and then add the zucchini and onions. Leave it for 2 hours before boiling it.
Step 5. Transfer to a food container with a lid.
Remember to follow the process of canning if you are making a large batch for sale and you want to keep your squash pickles shelf-stable for a longer time.