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Home » Preserving Food, What's Cooking

How To Can Squash & Zucchini

Submitted by on July 20, 2011 – 6:53 am 59 Comments
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how to can squash

Got extra squash? You could dehydrate it, or freeze it, but canning is so much fun, don’t ya think? It looks so pretty in jars too!

Here’s a super easy way to can summer squash and zucchini. Raw pack method…

Clean and sterilize your jars. I either wash them in the dishwasher; or wash in hot, soapy water, then heat the oven to 250* or so, and put the jars in it. Then I turn the oven off and let them sit and stay hot while I get everything else prepared.

In a small pot, get some water almost to a boil (NOT boiling) and place your lids in there to sterilize, turn down heat to simmer.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.

Wash your squash well; scrubbing with a vegetable brush helps get it good and clean. Cut ends off and slice into 1/2″ thick rounds. No need to peel.

Pack the slices into hot jars, leaving 1 in. headspace. Add salt if desired; 1/2 tsp pints, 1 tsp quarts.

Pour boiling water over the squash, leaving 1 in. headspace. Tap the jar gently on the counter, or use the end of a wooden spoon or something to remove air bubbles.

Wipe the rim of the jars with a wet rag, and adjust the two-piece lids.

Process pints for 25 min., quarts for 30 min. at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner.

Then sit back and admire your pretty little jars!

Update 4/17/13- Since first writing this article about two years ago, and after having a chance to use my canned squash, here are my thoughts…

  • The squash was saltier than I would have liked. If I can them again, I will omit the salt. (Salt is added for flavoring, not for preservation.)
  • The squash made really nice pureed baby food.
  • I realized we don’t really eat squash much… at all. Since I don’t have a baby eating pureed foods anymore, I probably won’t can squash this year.
  • We definitely prefer fresh squash and zucchini to canned.

Note: The National Center For Home Preservation has put out this statement about canning squash…

Recommendations for canning summer squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times. Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning for a known period of time that will destroy the bacteria that cause botulism. Documentation for the previous processing times cannot be found, and reports that are available do not support the old process. Slices or cubes of cooked summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into the jars. The amount of squash filled into a jar will affect the heating pattern in that jar. It is best to freeze summer squashes or pickle them for canning, but they may also be dried.

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59 Comments »

  • jean says:

    I have canned winter squash
    and for some reason it had a sour smell to it. I have been canning for years and this is one thing I did not have good luck with. any suggestions?

  • Rene says:

    Does anybody know if you can can butternut squash? I’ve got TONS this year and would prefer to can it if possible. I prefer canning to freezing for the simple reason that should the electricity go out, all my hard work isn’t lost. Any help, QUICKLY, sure would be appreciated!

  • Cynthia says:

    i am new to this canning thing.
    my question is why did my canned squash turn cloudy?
    and why cant i just clean ( cleaning as it says to do) and put the squash in jars and seal with hot water in it and then let it call cool down before putting away?

  • Melanie says:

    I use my food processor to shred the zucchini and then i freeze it in small bowls. Once frozen, i pop it out like an ice cube and put in vacuum sealed bags. Use it all year in bread and sauces.

  • Linda Binger says:

    Bunny Johnson,
    Do you use a pressure canner when canning your squash without water?

  • cher says:

    Can you shred zucchini and can it? And use it for Bread later on, without it turning into mush. I tried freezing and it just turn mostly water.

  • Rebecca B says:

    Hi! I love squash but would prefer for it to be fresh when I cook it. We plant a whole (HUGE) row of squash every year. Since the canned squash is too mushy, I always just fry it in the frying pan with onions. My husband really likes deep fried squash but only gets it at garden season since we don’t buy squash during the rest of the year. Thanks for the post! :)

  • Bunny Johnson says:

    I can my squash without water. You will probably can squash again once you try it because it is good.

  • Linda says:

    The USDA cannot find an agreed upon time for pressure canning the summer squash. Having said that many canners(those with more experience than I) agree on about 40 min for qts. at about 10 lbs of pressure. As to the USDA comment about packing the jars. A good just barely ripe summer squash will hold it’s shape under canning. From what I’ve surmised packing the jar with the slices cut at a consistent size and NOT over packing solves the cook down problem. Using hot liquid will fill the jar and make sure the center of mass is started out hot. I am curious if using the pickle crisp would help with maintaining the firm texture most of us like. Maybe it’s time the USDA stopped running from the issue and did the studies to verify times/pressure etc so we all could enjoy canning this wonderful vege. After all if the electricity goes out your hard frozen work goes up in flames. Any thoughts?

  • Joe says:

    Canned squash may or may not be safe. I don’t know. But PICKLED squash/zucchini is safe and great on a tomato sandwich. There are plenty of recipes. I add salt, dill, onions and garlic to mine. It’s a great way to enjoy your produce later in the year.

  • Christi says:

    What was the texture like? I prefer fresh squash that I bake in the oven with onions, potatoes, carrots, zuccunni, olive oil and Italian Seasonings. Do these stay firm or turn into mush?

  • Debi florida says:

    this is my first time canning & i don’t want to fail. the question is , i have a pressure cooker not a pressure canner. what is the different? can i use pressure cooker instead of a canner. help i just don’t know. my other half keeps saying my parents always used the pressure cooker. HELP PLEASE I’m so confused. Debi from florida.

  • Annie says:

    I have used overgrow zuccini. making sure seeds are not woody, cut in about 1 inch round slices, dredged in egg wash, Italian bread crumbs and fried till light golden brown on both sides in olive oil. Drain and cool on paper towels and freeze in single layers in freezer bags. Reheat in oven and serve with a sprinkling if your favorite grated cheese. You can serve them over spahgetti or rice with roasted onions, garlic, olive oil and more cheese.

  • Linnie says:

    I have canned sunner squash the way my mother,grandma, and greatgrandma have done since the 1800″s hot water bath 3hrs rolling boilling. never used pressure canner. never hurt us

  • charlene says:

    I make alot of zucchini pies in the summer. One taste like sugar cream pie . The other like pumpkin pie. I cook the zucchini first to make the pies so canning the squash would be perfect. I also make baked zucchini long slices like eggplant parmesean with left over spagetti sauce and meatballs and italian sausage.

  • Nancy F says:

    Hey everyone! If you haven’t done it, you need to do it! Pickeled zuchinni is the bomb! Kosher Dill as well as Bread and Butter is unbelievably good as well as a great way to put all that over sized squash to great use. In fact, I let mine get BIG, lay quart jar along side BIG zuc, cut to fit, then make spears, stuff back into the jar and pour your pickeling liquid right over them and process in water bath! Doesn’t get any better than this!

  • Tat Chase says:

    I like to saute’ summer squash with minced garlic, chopped onion and diced tomatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and Italian seasoning. You can serve it chunky like that or simmer for a bit. It makes a delicious meatless sauce over pasta with fresh grated parmesan cheese!

  • Angelina says:

    Thank Kendra for all the great information on canning, drying and freezing. I’m starting to get a bumper of squash so I am gearing up for the season.

  • katie says:

    I see a lot of folks dehydrate it…then what do you do with it and how do you store it? and in freezing- do you slice it or shred it? thanks!!

  • Carol says:

    I did try frying squash I had canned by your instructions and they turned out great. Thanks very much.

  • Candace says:

    I have just been reading this about the Zucks. And I’m going to give it a try. Mine are going nuts here in Washington state. Last year I froze mine and didn’t like the way they tasted later. I normally only make stewed zucchini or zucchini bread. I am wondering if anyone has tried to can stewed zucchini yet.

  • Miss Nirvana says:

    Summer squash and zucchini are no longer reccomended for canning by the USDA. :( http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_canning.html#24

  • Jim & Sharon Smith says:

    How do we can or perserve our spaghetti squash for the winter being that this weather here in the midwest so dry and hot with no rain for so long. Our spaghetti squash has gone nuts and a couple of them are almost as big as small pumpkins but we have tried something different this year I went to raised beds and newspaper straw and grass clippings and a little peatmoss.
    I would like know if I could because we don’t want our hard work to go to waste. I want to thankyou for your time and if you could give us a short E-Mail back we would appreciate vary much as we are retired now and home all the time.

    best wish from house to yours.

    Jimmer in the Southland
    ksmith691@gmail.com

  • Carolyn Ferdig says:

    I just read the recipe for canning summer squash. Why does everyone want to complain that canning isn’t safe? I have done it for years. This is my first attempt at summer squash though. I love canning, home remedies, drying, and being self sufficient. I don’t honestly care how crazy anyone thinks I am! Thanks for posting how to do the squash, gonna try it now. Carolyn

  • Jeanne says:

    I have a bumper crop of both zucchini and yellows going and the growing season is just getting started.
    I have a Fannie Farmer Cookbook that has these diferences in instructions for canning summer squash:
    Bring water to boil and cook squash for 3 minutes before jarring. Pressure cook for 40 minutes at 10 pounds.
    Boiling water kills most bacteria, so this is why they did it in days gone by.
    Also, if you like to can your own tomato and spaghetti sauces, just temporarily freeze some of the squash until you’re making your sauces and marinaras. They add great flavor and texture.

  • libby hansel says:

    leaving apt now to go to “farm”, nephew’s house, to pick and can green beans. we are bucket rich in zucchini this year. been baking gluetin free zucchini bread and muffins. will try canning. love onions, garlic, squash in spaghetti sauce over GF spaghetti.

  • christie says:

    Can u just boil on top of store ( the jars ) after u get zucc put in them…instead of using a pressure cooker..

  • Linda says:

    The Amish have been canning squashs for years and I am sure our great grandparents and further back were also canning it. Why all of a sudden is it not safe? Anyway according to an Amish cookbook I have the time they say for pressure canning the squash is 90 minutes.

  • Tresia says:

    I have been reading about canning summer squash…I would be careful feeding it to my baby…the recipes I found called for using a pressure cooker for 90 minuets..60 minuets less than you are saying. Think I will play it safe freeze some…dry some and eat alot of it
    now.

  • pam says:

    HOW DO YOU COOK THE SQUASH AFTER IT IS CANNED. I’VE NVER LIKED COOKING SQUASH AFTER IT IS FROZEN, IT TEARS ALL TO PIECES. SO HOW DO YOU COOK THEM?

  • Kayleen says:

    It is not safe or recommended to can any summer squashes. I found this on The National Center for Home Food Preservation websites FAQ:
    Why is canning summer squash or zucchini not recommended?
    Recommendations for canning summer squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times. Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning for a known period of time that will destroy the bacteria that cause botulism. Documentation for the previous processing times cannot be found, and reports that are available do not support the old process. Slices or cubes of cooked summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into the jars. The amount of squash filled into a jar will affect the heating pattern in that jar. It is best to freeze summer squashes or pickle them for canning, but they may also be dried.

    Also putting glass jars in a dry hot oven could cause them to shatter and is not recommended by any reputable guides as a safe way to heat and sterilize your jars.

  • Michele Olson says:

    OMG!!!! I have been looking for hours! This is so easy. Thanks for posting it!!

  • Dusty says:

    i just read it is not safe to can summer squashes, but my husband’s favorite is tomatoes, green pepper, onion and squash. I can for 90 minutes and make sure i re-heat it thoroughly.

  • Michele says:

    Grrr, I see it now! Lol…lonnnnng day!

  • Michele says:

    I may just be really tired and not with it tonight but you didn’t mention canning salt?

  • Carole says:

    This isn’t exactly on topic, but–when I cook corn on the cob if I have extra ears leftover, I cut the kernels off the ears and freeze them in pint sized bags. This gives me frozen corn for winter without having a marathon freezing session. I usually don’t cool the ears by putting them in ice water, but it can easily be done. Also some pressure cookers (not canners) will process pints if you have only a small amount of whatever available. This, too, is not as disruptive as a major canning session. When using the pressure cooker I cut a piece of coth to fit the bottom of the cooker to protect the cans since the rack, if there is one, might make the cans too tall to get the lid on. Pressure cooker instruction books used to explain this.

  • Janet says:

    Wanting to make sure readers understand that the squash must be “Pressure Canned” If not your lids may look sealed but they are not! You could poison yourself and your family by serving Squash that has been canned using a waterbath method.

  • Lynda says:

    I’ve found my canned summer squash is too mushy unless I use the older squash. The nice young squash I now eat fresh, freeze or dehydrate. I only can the squash that *gets away from me*…big old zukes or crooks.

  • Dana says:

    Thanks, I only ever grew up eating it fried. Since being on my own I have used it in stir fries, fresh on Kabobs and grilled.

  • Lerin says:

    I’ve been sauteing my squash and zucchini with fresh basil and garlic and that’s very good. I puree it up for the baby too! You can also chop them in a food processor and add as a base or texture in lots of soups and sauces. I’m going to freeze some already processed for canning spaghetti sauce. And here’s another recipe that looks good: Summer Squash Casserole http://www.tammysrecipes.com/summer_squash_casserole

  • Pam says:

    So glad you posted this! My squash plants are producing like crazy and I’ve never found a recipe to can it. Please update and let us know how it turns out once you use it because our favorite way to cook it is just as you mentioned in your post. I’m curious how it turns out. :0)

  • Just what I needed my eight ball squashes are starting to bear in this HOT weather.

  • kim says:

    Thanks, this is just in time, I got two free bags of zuchinni this morning!

  • Dana says:

    How do you use it once it’s canned??

    • Dana,

      We like to eat squash and onions fried in olive oil until tender and just browning, then sprinkled with lots of salt and pepper. I’m hoping these canned squash will do well with that, though this is my first time canning squash so I haven’t tried it out yet. If it’s good, I think next time I’ll can squash and onions together, if that’s okay to do. You could also add it to soups, stews, and spaghetti sauce :) I’d imagine casseroles would work too.

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