Summer squash is also excellent in this recipe, although the coloring of the final product is not quite as distinctive. If you're one of those ambitious gardeners who plants both types of squash, try using both in this pickle at the same time.
3 pounds zucchini, ends trimmed, cut into very thin rounds, about 1/8-inch thick
2 red onions about the size of baseballs, peeled and cut into thin slices
3 to 4 colorful chile peppers of your choice, cut into thin rounds
1/4 cup kosher or other coarse salt
1 cup seedless golden raisins (optional)
2 3/4 cups distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup sherry
1 1/2 cups orange juice
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons prepared curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon whole allspice berries
1 teaspoon whole cloves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 piece of ginger the size of your thumb, peeled and sliced into very thin coins
1. In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the zucchini, onions, chilies, and salt, and let them stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse twice to remove the salt, then add the grapes and set aside.
2. In a medium nonreactive saucepan, bring all the remaining ingredients except the ginger to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring once or twice to dissolve the sugar. Pour the hot liquid over the squash mixture; the squash should be amply covered or slightly afloat. Add the ginger to the squash mixture, allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate.
3. These pickles develop great flavor within a couple hour of refrigeration and will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for 3 to 4 weeks.
Adapted from Quick Pickles: Easy Recipes for Bold Flavors, by John Willoughby, Chris Schlesinger, and Dan George, (Chronicle Books, spring 2001).
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