The First Salsa and Pickles of the Season – Corn Salsa and Frig Dill Zucchini Pickles – Good Stuff

I love canning and the season is upon us. I especially enjoy canning salsas and pickles, which are more imaginative than traditional foodstuff like tomatoes, peaches, and apples. While we greatly appreciated that we have such during the winter months, they just aren’t as much fun to make. Last summer I canned tomato-chile salsa and sweet cucumber pickles (only to learn Craig much prefers dilled pickles), but this year I wanted something more unique so I made corn salsa and refrigerator zucchini dill pickles (yet another way to use the plethora of CSA zucs).
The corn salsa is from a wonderful preserving book, Put ‘em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton. The recipes, for canning, freezing, and drying, are clearly written and very creative. I like the portion size of the recipes, lots of pints, with an emphasis on sauces, salsas, pickles, jellies, and jams. The preface to this recipe suggests it's tasty when combined with rice, beans, and cheese for quick-fix burritos. Craig grilled the corn because we prefer the slightly smoky flavor it imparts, and it’s easier than boiling. And instead of fresh jalapenos, I used the last of what I roasted and froze last summer.

Who says pickles must be made from cucumbers, especially when your produce bin is overflowing with zucchini? I had seen a recipe for Spicy Dill Refrigerator Pickles from Carolyn at All Day I Dream about Food from last month's Secret Recipe Club. Put ‘em Up! has a recipe for pickled zucs that soaks the zucchini and onions in iced salt water for an hour or two, then rinsed and drained, which is what I did, but I followed Carolyn’s recipe to actually prepare the pickles. Simply delicious, probably the best pickles I’ve ever tasted. Super crispy, which I prefer over pickles that are prepared in boiling-water and have a softer texture. These have the right amount of saltiness and the fresh dill shines. The pickled onions are almost as good as the pickles themselves. Next time I make these, I'll add more jalapeno or use a hotter pepper for more of a kick.

Corn Salsa
From Put ‘em Up!
Makes about 8 pints

12 ears corn, shucked
3 C distilled white vinegar
1 C sugar
1 T ground cumin
1 T salt
5 pounds tomatoes, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro

Bring a large non-reactive stock pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and boil for 5 minutes. Drain.
When the corn is cool enough to handle, stand the cobs on end and slice vertically to cut off the kernels, being careful not to cut into the cobs. For less mess and fewer flying kernels, put the pointed end of the ear into the hole of a Bundt pan and cut off the kernels. Most off the corn stays in the pan. Empty and wipe out the stock pot.

Combine the vinegar, sugar, cumin, and salt in the stock pot, and bring to a boil. Add the tomatoes, jalapenos, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and corn kernels, and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Stir in the cilantro and return to a boil, Remove from the heat.

This can be refrigerated for up to three weeks or canned used a boiling water method.

Spicy Dill Refrigerator Zucchini Pickles
Makes about 4 pints
2 pounds of zucchini and/or yellow squash
1 pound of onions, chopped
At least 2 C ice cubes
1/2 C kosher salt
1 jalapeno pepper, quartered
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 T chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 t whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 t ground coriander
1 1/2 C white vinegar
3/4 C apple cider vinegar
3/4 C water

Wash zucchini and/or yellow squash and slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch spears. Toss the spears with the onions, ice, and salt into a large bowl, and add enough cold water to cover. Set aside for an hour or two. Drain, rinse, and drain again.

Arrange the zucchini spears and onions in pint jars. Divide jalapeno, garlic, dill, peppercorns, and coriander between jars.

In a medium saucepan, bring vinegars and water to a boil. Divide brine among jars, almost to the top (no worry about leaving headspace here, these are refrigerator pickles). Screw on jar lids.

Leave jars on kitchen counter for at least 3 days. After that, refrigerate. The flavor continues to develop, and they will last several months in the fridge assuming they’re not gone wayyyyy before that!


  1. Some great ideas. I hope to start canning this year.

  2. Barbara, good luck. Let me know if I can be of assistance as you start canning. I helped my mom with it as a kid and then took a long hiatus, been back at it three years. Pickles are a great thing to start with.



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