Insanity, as the saying goes, is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
And while I agree with Albert Einstein, Ben Franklin, or whatever anonymous scholar coined the phrase, I’m finding a few exceptions to the rule when it comes to my ongoing experiments in finding ways to eat foods I hate.
I know, for example, that continuing to bake salmon, no matter what sauce or marinade I throw on top of it, is not going to magically change how I feel about the taste of that fish.
But earlier this month, I voluntarily included half a banana in a smoothie and still managed to enjoy the drink.
(Though admittedly at this point in the month, allergies had left me barely able to breathe, so the taste of pretty much everything I gulped down was muted.)
(Yes, “pickle it” has already been turned into a Portlandia sketch, in case you’re wondering.)
Snappy and tart instead of mushy and sweet, I’m now convinced that pickled is the only way to go when eating members of the squash family.
I’ve been throwing handfuls into salads alongside pickled beets for a one-two sweet-and-sour punch, and using them as a topping for cold sesame noodles and pad Thai.
The pickled butternut squash cubes can be minced and stirred together with sour cream, herbs, and mayo for a quick vegetable dip or dressing.
The crunchy cubes of squash would also be a bright addition to a coconut milk curry, or folded into a whole grain pilaf with other cooked vegetables.
I love enlivening meals with a little pickled tang, so I’m thrilled to have these in my repertoire for the summer months.
The following recipe is a small-batch pickling recipe, since I find that a little goes a long way with condiments like this. And how many jars can a reasonably sane person keep in her fridge at once?
It’s also a refrigerator pickle, meaning you don’t have to go through the process of water bath canning.
Make one big jar or a few small jars and share the wealth.
And if you don’t want to break down an entire butternut squash to get a mere 1/2 cup of cubes for this recipe, try a honeynut squash!
It’s a miniature version of the butternut and is so easy to prep—barely any seeds or stringy bits. A half-pound honeynut will get you exactly what you need here.
Squash, consider yourself crossed off my list. On to the next.
- 1/2 pound butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 whole dried chile pepper, roughly torn, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- Add the butternut squash, chile, and bay leaf to a wide-mouth quart-size canning jar or divide between 3 1-cup jars.
- Add the vinegar, water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, and mustard seeds to a 1-quart high-sided saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve the salt and sugar.
- Carefully pour the brine into the jar to cover the butternut squash.
- Let cool for 10 minutes, then close the jars and refrigerate for at least a week before eating.
Pickled butternut squash will keep in the fridge for at least a month. After that, it's your call, but I've had other refrigerator pickles last up to a year, even though they haven't been water bath-canned. Use your nose and your good judgment.
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