Food & Drink

Golden Zucchini Pickles

Makes 2 pints

The simple snack you’ll be munching on all summer

Photo: kathleen purvis

Who wants to wrestle with canning in a hot summer kitchen? Refrigerator pickles, on the other hand, are fast to make and keep for weeks, getting brighter and juicier as the days go by. At Charlotte, North Carolina’s Haberdish, with a textile-mill theme and home-cooking style, simple pickles are always on the menu. One of the summertime regulars: These bright yellow zucchini pickles, given even more color with turmeric. Haberdish’s sous chef Kelly Williams got turned on to the cooking of the late Judy Rodgers by Joe and Katy Kindred of Kindred Restaurant in nearby Davidson. Rodgers’s San Francisco, California, restaurant, Zuni Café, helped pioneer the farm-to-table movement. In this recipe, Rodgers used zucchini. But Williams switched to golden zucchini, with its bright yellow skin, to pair perfectly with the turmeric-colored brining liquid. The result is solid gold.

See more summer zucchini recipes


  • Golden Zucchini and Turmeric Pickles

    • 1 pound golden zucchini, washed, trimmed, and sliced in rounds less than 1/4 inch thick

    • 1 medium red onion, trimmed, peeled, and very thinly sliced

    • 2 tablespoons kosher salt

    • 2 cups apple cider vinegar

    • 1 cup sugar

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

    • 1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds, slightly crushed

    • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric


  1. Combine zucchini and onion in a large bowl. Add salt; toss to combine. Add a few ice cubes and enough cold water to cover, stirring until the salt dissolves. Let stand at room temperature until the zucchini is salty and softened, about 1 hour.

  2. Drain well and dry thoroughly between two dish towels or spin a few handfuls at a time in a salad spinner. (It needs to be very dry—too much water will thin the flavor.)

  3. Rinse and dry the bowl. Return the zucchini and onion to the bowl and set aside.

  4. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard, mustard seeds, and turmeric. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer for 3 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand until just warm to the touch.

  5. Pour the cooled brine over the zucchini and onions, stirring to combine. Transfer to sterilized jars, pouring the brine into the jars. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before serving. Will keep about 3 months in the refrigerator.

From Kelly Williams of Haberdish in Charlotte, adapted from a recipe by the late Judy Rogers of Zuni Café.