TASTE / How to preserve Courgettes

Updated: Oct 15, 2021

There are sad times approaching in our house for Raffaele as cucumbers are coming to the end of their season. So, we are trying to get him back into courgettes as an alternative, of course very different but similar to look at nonetheless! Stefano's mum makes incredible preserved courgettes in 'agro-dolce', a delightful sweet, vinegar-y solution. Made in the right way they retain their raw crunch. We thought we would make them this year as a fabulous substitute for cucumber in salads, sandwiches or deli boards from now and right through the winter months.

We love the ancient tradition of preserving abundant summer veg, born out of resourcefulness in order to see one through the harder months. It is wonderfully still a commonplace habit in Italy, with a huge variety of produce ripe for the treatment, from the early season asparagus through to berries, artichokes, lemons and tomatoes until the grapes and chestnuts of Autumn and early Winter.

In easier times it was such a delight to walk into Nonna's pantry and select from the array of jars some favourites to bring back home for the months ahead. Fortunately we do have some of her recipes and tips perfected over the years, to try our hands at preserving some of our favourite local organic veggies back here in the UK. Here is the one we have tried this week:

Zucchine all Agrodolce

Before preserving please read up on how to do it safely. There is a guide and links you can follow here We sterilise our jars in the oven and then follow the water-bath canning method using a large deep saucepan with lid, funnel and sets of tongs. If you are working in greater bulk, there are sets you can buy which include a rack and specially designed canning kettle or a pressure canner.

Prepare your jars just before you begin and leave in the hot water until you are ready to fill.

To make one 500ml jar (with a little left over to eat right away!)

500g courgettes

250ml cider/white wine vinegar

250 ml water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Sprig of mint roughly chopped