Bread and Butter Summer Squash Pickles

I have a confession. I’m not fond of summer squash. While I love most of the delicious fruits and vegetables from the summer harvest, I’m ambivalent about zucchini, yellow squash and the rest of the lot. It’s not the flavor I dislike, it’s more so the lack thereof. Maybe I just haven’t had a good zucchini? One might argue that the lack of flavor actually makes squash more versatile as it can be added to many dishes without competing with other flavors. I however don’t advocate for the use of an ingredient as filler. I know many of you share my sentiments about summer squash, while others are cringing and think it’s the best thing since sliced white bread. Whether you’re a lover or a hater, I’ve got a recipe that puts the savory back into squash.

It turns out that summer squash make a pretty decent pickle. While I’m not particularly picky about my pickle, I do prefer the refrigerator variety which retain a crisp texture. Conventional canning requires heat to kill bacteria allowing canned goods to keep for extended periods of time. The tradeoff is that heat cooks the pickle which results in a loss of bite and texture. Refrigerator pickles won’t last as long and must be refrigerated but remain crisp. Simply marinate for 24 to 48 hours and devour.

These bread and butter summer squash pickles aren’t too sweet and they pack a little heat from the addition of jalapeno. The beauty of pickling is that there’s an endless number of combinations of spices and vegetables that can be used. If you like it spicy add more jalapeño, or exclude them all together if you can’t take the heat. If you prefer a really sweet pickle add extra sugar. Have a favorite spice? Add it and see how it turns out. Or just, stick to this delicious recipe. You’ll love it!

Bread and Butter Summer Squash Pickles


  • 6 summer squash (about 3 pounds) sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 medium sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeño peppers sliced
  • 2 1/4 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 bay leaf torn into pieces


Salt the squash
    • Toss the salt and squash in a bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
    • Drain the squash. Rinse the squash with water and drain again.
Make the brine
    • Add the vinegar, sugar, and spices to a saucepan and heat just until boiling. Stir until the sugar dissolves and turn off the heat.
Pack the jars
    • Evenly pack four 16 ounce canning jars with the squash, onions and peppers. Ladle the pickling brine into the jars until the squash is covered.
  • Let the pickles marinate for at least 24 hours or a full 48 hours for maximum flavor. Refrigerate for up to 4 weeks. Discard sooner if any film develops.


Even though this recipe is for refrigerator pickles, you can still bypass the refrigerator step and use conventional canning methods. This is a good resource to get you started.