Sunday, May 22, 2011

Canning Yellow Summer Squash

Here's what my research on canning squash revealed... seems it's not like the USDA has had a huge outbreak of bacteria in home canned squash or anything, just that they can't find their documentation. I canned squash.

*Disclaimer: 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squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times.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.

I signed up recently for text alerts from the State Farmers Market and received my first one this past week... "summer squashes will be available beginning this week!" We planned a Saturday excursion to the Farmers Market. The day before our planned visit, I got a call from my son and daughter-in-law saying they were leaving early for a vacation in Florida and would be passing through our town on their way... would we like to meet somewhere and have breakfast with them as they passed through? Well, sure! We chose a spot close to the interstate so they wouldn't need to stray far from their travel route, and close to the market so we could head on over there after breakfast.

It was an enjoyable visit with the kids, filled with laughter, everybody talking at once, good food, good fellowship, hugs and happiness! We saw them on their way on down the highway, then took ourselves to market looking for squash... and squash we found! along with green peas (but that's another story for another day).

A few more errands and then back home to begin the squash adventure... Here's what I did...

First, of course, I washed my squash, giving it a good scrub in the sink.

I put my jars in the dishwasher to make sure they were clean and sterilized (my dishwasher gets quite hot).

I put my lids and rings on to simmer and stay hot until I was ready for them.

Then I sliced of the ends of the squash and cut them into about a half inch slices, cutting the slices in two on the "fat" parts of the vegetable.

I placed the sliced squash into a saucepan, covering them with water and brought the mixture to a boil.

Once my squash was heated through and beginning to soften, I started filling my hot pint canning jars with the vegetable/water mixture, leaving about a half inch headspace.

I made sure there were no trapped air bubbles and that there was plenty of liquid surrounding the squash pieces. I added a half teaspoon of canning salt to each jar.

I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth.

Then, removing my lids using may handy dandy magnetic wand gadget, I tightened the hot lids onto the jars (fingertip tightness!)

I loaded the jars into my pressure canner and processed the pints at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes (quarts would take 30 minutes). After processing, I allowed my pressure canner to cool down on its own, the pressure dropping to zero before I removed the lid and took the jars out using my jar lifter. I set the hot jars on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool and to wait for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.

There was a time in my life that I would only eat summer squash breaded and fried and that was only possible when it was garden fresh... but then I discovered Squash Casserole! Much of my store of canned squash will go toward making this yummy concoction... 

2 cups summer squash (I'll use one of my pint jars, drained... or maybe two!)
1/2 chopped onion
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 beaten egg
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded cheese
8 ounces seasoned stuffing mix
1/2 cup melted butter

Mix ingredients together and bake in a 9x13 baking dish at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until onions are tender. Sometimes I add shredded carrots to the mix, just to change it up a little. Delicious!

Or... maybe I'll try a new recipe, like Summer Squash Bread...

3 eggs, beaten
2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 cups shredded summer squash (I'm thinking one of my canned pint jars, drained well)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, grease 9x13 baking dish. In large bowl, using an electric mixer to beat the eggs until fluffy, beat in sugar, oil, and vanilla. Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg, fold in squash. Transfer to prepared baking pan. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Canning Granny©2011 All Rights Reserved


  1. I can't wait to hear about the peas!

  2. Looks great.
    Can not wait to try it myself.
    The bread recipe is also very inviting.

    Thanks for sharing those recipes.

  3. Thank you sooooo very much for ttaking the time to put all this on "paper". Just retired a few months ago and my first 'large' garden in probably 30 or so years. Have an aboundance of yelow and zuc and was trying to figure out if freezing or canning. Your article leans me toward canning -- thanks.
    mkg1947 in Texas

  4. Can use use the water bath instead of a pressure cooker?

    1. No, sorry... squash is a low acid veggie and must be pressure canned. ~~Granny

    2. A 3-hour hot water bath can be used--we have done this with squash, green beans and other low-acid veggies. No one got sick or had any problems. The only issue is that the veggies get softer. Okay for some, not so much for others--a texture issue, not bacterial.

      Check the water level every 30 minutes or so and add more BOILING water if necessary. (If you add cold or cooler water, you jars can explode!)

  5. Hi, thanks so much for all you do keeping us informed. I like the other lady have retired recently and just purchased a new All American Canner and am so ready to get started. I just have one question. Does a squash relish have to processed in the pressure canner? Thanks in advance for your answer!!


    1. Libby, I don't know the recipe you are using for squash relish, but if it has a high acid brine/liquid, I'm guessing it could be water bath canned... vinegar based. ~~Granny

  6. Thanks for the info. My grandmother always canned squash but never passed on the recipe. I have squash cooking now.

    1. Yay! So good... my favorite thing to make is squash fritters from my canned squash... Deeee lish! ~~Granny

    2. How on earth do you make squash fritters from canned squash? I'd love to see all the things you do with your canned squash. :)

  7. I was so happy to find your blog...and directions for canning summer squash!

    1. So glad to have you here!!! ~~Granny

  8. Thank you so much for this information! We have a BUTT LOAD of squash and zucchini that we will never be able to eat & give away before it goes bad! This is my weekend project (as well as beans!) Above you mention squash fritters - do you have a fritter recipe of your own or do you have specifice one you would suggest?

    1. Patti, it's not exactly a recipe, but what I do is drain one of my pint jars of squash, then in a mixing bowl, I mix the squash (it's very soft), an egg, and enough flour (self-rising or all purpose mixed with some baking powder and salt) to make a thick batter (thicker than pancake batter). I heat some oil in a frying pan and drop the the batter by the tablespoonful into the pan, let it brown then flip it over and brown the other side... cook on medium low heat so the fritters cook all the way through... while they're cooking I usually sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Yummy!!!

  9. Thank you so much for this information. I have been canning and gardening for years but have never planted golden zucchini/yellow summer squash. Can you tell me some other ways to cook or recipes to use with all the canned yellow zucchini?

    1. Dawn, one of my favorite uses for canned squash is Squash Fritters... I drain one of my pint jars of squash, then in a mixing bowl, I mix the squash (it's very soft), an egg, and enough flour (self-rising or all purpose mixed with some baking powder and salt) to make a thick batter (thicker than pancake batter). I heat some oil in a frying pan and drop the the batter by the tablespoonful into the pan, let it brown then flip it over and brown the other side... cook on medium low heat so the fritters cook all the way through... while they're cooking I usually sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Yummy!!! ~~Granny

  10. I have a pressure canner that only has 2 settings... 8 lbs of pressure or 15 lbs. Which one would I use for squash & how would it change the processing time? Everything says use 15 lbs if over 1,000 altitude but I am not.... thanks!!

    1. Use the 8 lb. setting and don't change the timing... should work just fine. ~~Granny

  11. Thanks for sharing this! I just shared it to my page :-)

  12. I would have expected to add a bit of vinegar to it as well since it is low acid. Has anyone tried pickling summer squash?

    1. Debra, there is no need to add vinegar to a low acid food if it is pressure canned. And yes, I've made bread and butter pickled squash as well as squash relish that is very yummy! ~~Granny

  13. Jennifer DriscollJuly 21, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Ok, I can NOT seem to find any information on the ability to RAW pack summer squash. Is this possible? I'd like to ward of the "mushy" squash syndrome in the winter. If not, does anyone know WHY it shouldn't be done this way?

    1. Jennifer, squash is a low acid food and must be pressure canned to keep... hence the mush! While this is not an approved method, I will tell you a method a friend shared with me and I tried a few jars to see if it will work... she said pour a cup of vinegar in a large saucepan, add a gallon of sliced squash, then water to cover the squash... bring to a boil, fill jars, then boiling water bath for 10 minutes... she swears you can drain them, then bread and fry and they taste just like fresh... I cannot vouch for this method, but I had to try it! ~~Granny

    2. Pamela, When you tried this...What were the results?

    3. I LOVE my canned squash in recipes... it's mushy just out of the jar but makes great casseroles, fritters, breads, etc. ~~Granny

  14. I am at an altitude of 5600 ft here in would the time int he canner change for this here? I have an abundance of squash and would like to get it up before it goes bad on me

    1. Alison, add 1/2 pound pressure per 1000 feet above 2000 feet... so about 13 pounds pressure... for the same time. ~~Granny

  15. I have been canning the yellow and zuccini with a half cup of vinegar and 1/4 c salt to a gallon of water and gallon or less of squash doing the same thing with okra. I dont boil the squash but about 2-3 minutes the okra about 5. with the salt and vinegar in it do i still need to water bath or pressure can it? Thanks you Debra

  16. I have my first garden this summer and I am getting a lot of yellow squash - I have been washing, cutting and freezing the squash without blanching or cooking at all. Is this ok?

    1. Yes, freezing squash raw is perfectly OK. ~~Granny

  17. I would like to use some half gallon canning jars that I have. Does anyone know how long I would have to pressure can them? My pressure canner manual gives the time for pint and quarts but not half gallons.

    1. It's almost impossible to find information on half gallon jars these days, there's very little to NO research at the USDA and other "expert" organizations... I did find this bit of info on the "Prepared Society" forum...

      "As late as 1982 the Kerr Home Canning & Freezing Guide gave guidelines for using half gallon jars for canning. “Backwoods Home” magazine canner Jackie Clay confirms these times and adds in her articles that as long as the food is boiling hot when you put it in the jars, and you can it right away (packing hot into hot jars, and keeping it hot) you should get good results.
      Use the usual check for spoilage when opening: appearance, spurts and smell; then simmer 15 min to be sure.

      The guidelines say that you add:
      10 min to quart jar times for water bath canned acid foods
      5 min to quart jar times for pressure canned acid foods
      20% more time to quart jar times for non-acid pressure canned foods
      So I did the math and here are my calculations:
      (On this chart, BW means processed in boiling water bath, 10# means processed under 10 pounds of pressure)

      Apples BW 35 min
      Applesauce BW 35 min
      Apricots BW 40 min
      Asparagus 10# 40 min
      Beans, snap 10# 35 min
      Beans, lima 10# 60 min
      Beets 10# 48 min
      Berries, except strawberries BW 30 min
      Bruss. Sprouts 10# 40 min
      Broccoli 10# 48 min
      Cabbage 10# 40 min
      Carrots 10# 36 min
      Cauliflower 10# 48 min
      Cherries BW 35 min
      Corn, kernel 10# 102 min.
      Cranberries BW 25 min
      Currants BW 30 min
      Eggplant 10# 48 min
      Fruit, dried BW 25 min
      Figs BW 50 min
      Grapes BW 30 min
      Greens 10# 108 min
      Fruit Juice BW add 10 min to quart time
      Grapefruit BW 30 min
      Hominy 10# 96 min
      Nectarines BW 35 min
      Okra 10# 48 min
      Onions 10# 48 min
      Peas 10# 48 min

      Peaches BW 40 min
      Pears BW 40 min
      Peppers, sweet 5# 72 min
      Pickles BW add 10 min to quart time
      Pineapple BW 40 min
      Plums BW 30 min
      Potatoes 10# 48 min
      Pumpkin 10# 108 min
      Rhubarb BW 25 min
      Rutabagas 10# 36 min
      Soybeans 10# 96 min
      Strawberries BW 25 min
      Sweet potatoes, wet packed10# 168 min
      Squash, summer 10# 36 min
      Squash, winter 10# 108 min
      Tomatoes BW 55 min
      Tomato juice BW 25 min
      Tomatoes, stewed BW 65min

      Beef 10# 108 min
      Stew Chunks, any meat 10# 90 min
      Fish 10# 108 min
      Game 10# 108 min
      Ham 10# 108 min
      Lamb,veal 10# 108 min
      Pork 10# 108 min
      Poultry 10# 108 min
      Sausage 10# 108 mi
      Tenderloin 10# 108 min
      Venison 10# 108 min
      Bean soup 10# 72 min
      Bean & Bacon soup 10# 75 min
      Beans, baked 10# 75 min
      Chicken soup 10# 60 min
      Hamburger sauce 10# 108 min
      Italian meat sauce 10# 90 min
      Soup stock 10# 36 min
      Tomato sauce 10# 45 min
      Veg. Beef Stew 10# 90 min

      I DO NOT TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY PROBLEMS RESULTING FROM THIS POST. IT IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY, AND YOU USE SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK, AS WITH ALL CANNING RECIPES. (So I don't want all the home canning folks screaming about the USDA guidelines, as I already know them quite well.)"

  18. Does your canned yellow squash turn brown?

  19. Awesome.. Thanks for your post. I've been dehydrating my squash but I'd like to get some canned too. My freezer is packed full of all sorts of things so Im off to give canning squash a try tonight.
    Thanks! :)

  20. WOW!! What a site! I've learned SO much in the past 10 minutes or so of reading your posts, it's great! THANK YOU! I'm just getting started with canning and I have a MASSIVE amount of yellow squash! I have a pressure cooker/canner and CAN'T wait to use it! Now I know how to do it all!
    And BTW, I've made squash bread and it is VERY VERY good! Really moist and the flavor is delicious and refreshing! Hope you enjoy yours too!

    1. Thank YOU Kristina! You made my day! ~~Granny

  21. What a wonderful post! I have a question (maybe a statement) I have heard over the years. The gist of it is that squash is too soft and gets mushy when canned. Your canned jars look pretty darned good. How do they hold up when you open them and cook?

    1. It does get quite soft, but I use it in recipes that don't mind the softness... like fritters, squash casserole or breads... I open a jar often and throw together a casserole for dinner. ~~Granny

  22. I'm canning mine as we speak. I am in Denver and am doing them (quart jars) at 15 lbs pressure for 90 minutes. I did 3 quarts of sliced and 3 quarts of diced squash mixed with zucchini for soups.

  23. Granny, I love squash casserole! The recipe I use is very similar with the addition of grated carrot. The bomb!

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  26. Your recipe and pictures look just like my mom's. I usually freeze my squash, but the freezer is full and i wanted to can some this year. It is still early in the season and we are being blessed with much squash so far.I don't like the mushiness of canned squash but your fritter recipe sounds yummy. I have pickled some and they are so good. Of course I don't remember where I got the recipe. Have a blessed Memorial weekend.

  27. Granny, I'm new at canning & your page helps so much. i just don't know how to can my squash so i may be able to fry it later. i saw that recipe of your friend & I'm going to try it. wish me luck. I'm also going to try all of yours. the problem i have is i have a pressure cooker not a pressure canner what is the different? I've never canned before & i don't want to fail. Your page & recipes are great but please help me about the pressure cooker/canner. I just don't know!
    Help me Please!!
    Debi from Florida

  28. Granny, I'm new at canning & your page helps so much. i just don't know how to can my squash so i may be able to fry it later. i saw that recipe of your friend & I'm going to try it. wish me luck. I'm also going to try all of yours. the problem i have is i have a pressure cooker not a pressure canner what is the different? I've never canned before & i don't want to fail. Your page & recipes are great but please help me about the pressure cooker/canner. I just don't know!
    Help me Please!!
    Debi from Florida

    1. Hi Debi,
      I am not granny, but a pressure cooker/canner is the same thing. You can cook in it, but also can. When you get used to using it, you will love it!!

    2. You do NOT want to use your pressure cooker as a canner.. They are not built the same way and the walls of the pressure cooker are not as strong as the canner is. You run a risk of having your cooker explode and cause great damage to anyone & anything that is in the vicinity of it.

      You may hear of some people doing this.. but I WOULD NOT!!

  29. I read where you said that the squash gets soft ,how can you get a firmer jar of Canned squash after the canning process with your pressure caner?This is my first year of canning ,I have a new 23qt pressure cooker/caner and a big garden 6-03-13 ready to yield .

    1. Squash is quite delicate and cooks quickly so there's no way to pressure can without it getting mushy, sorry. ~~Granny

  30. Granny:
    I really want to can some squash using a pressure cooker and this looks like just the recipe I was looking for. I did read on the USDA site that they do not recommend canning squash as you mentioned at the top. They also seem to recommend much longer times on larger quart jars for similar items. I am a little apprehensive because of this. Why do you think there is such uncertainty on this? Do you think this is just bureaucratic "Cover my bottom"

  31. Hi my name is Pat some of you are wanting a recipe for crisp squash and i have it. It's sweet squash pickles and they are easy and taste great give it a try these are not for long term and do not have to be put in water bath you do not have to boil bands or jars just wash them well these make a great gift for family and friends

    3 yellow sqaush sliced 1/4 inch thick
    1 medium onion cut medium size
    1 large red bell pepper cut into 1/4 inch strips
    1 table spoon salt
    1 cup sugar
    3/4 cup white vinegar
    3/4 teeaspoon mustard seed
    3/4 teaspoon celery seed
    1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

    1. In a large bowl conbine the squash,red pepper,onion and salt cover with water put in refrigerate for 1 hour or longer then drain
    2.In a large saucepan conbine the remaining ingredients bring to a boil Add squash mixture return to a boil then remove from heat and cool.
    3.put in clean pint jar's store in refrigerater for 4 days before serving may be stored in refrigerator for 3 weeks yields four cups so i double my recipe. ENJOY

  32. So its not safe to can squash at all unless you have a pressure canner?

  33. Thank you for the info on canning! I have a bumper crop of summer squash this year, far more than we could ever eat before spoiling or totally burning my family out on it. ;-)

    I plan to use my squash in cream soups this winter. Since I puree the soup just before serving having soft squash is no issue.

  34. Thank you for your instructions, I have been canning yellow squash all day long. Looks pretty but Iam wondering if pressure cooking for 25 mins. its to long? I preheated my squash then processed for 25mins, will the squash be fully cooked when I open the jars? It sure looks like it is done, can't wait until I open a jar and get to eat all my hard work. First time to ever use a pressurer cooker, it sure takes a long time!!!

    1. It will be fully cooked and quite soft... 25 minutes is the minimum time for squash to make it shelf stable. ~~Granny

  35. When in doubt, I check you out. Thanks for this post, I am canning some yellow squash today and will link your blog post. ~Perky Prepping Gramma~

  36. I just received a pressure canner for Christmas and I'm about to stock up on zucchini from our local farmers market. Question: would it be safe to pressure can zucchini butter if its cooked with olive oil or butter like this recipe:

    1. "Officially" it's not recommended to can recipes with large amounts of oils and butter. ~~Granny


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