Ever wondered if it is safe to can summer squash for later use in winter?
Many of you have been asking if it’s possible to preserve summer squash using the canning method.
In general, it is not safe to can summer squash or Zucchini. They are best preserved by pickling or freezing because they can be healthier pickled than canned. Freezing provides the ultimate in storage, with no loss of nutritional content and without any chemical preservatives to worry about.
The challenge is that once you have canned summer squash, they get smooshed and mashy to a point you won’t enjoy eating them when needed.
And, if you have tried and failed to preserve Zucchinis or summer squash, you possibly found out how quickly they can disintegrate and get liquified from the high pressured cooking they go through inside the canning pressure cooker.
The good news is that there is a way to avoid ending up with watery jars of canned summer squash by preserving them paired with other preserves in the form of a recipe.
So, if you are looking into canning summer squash, you are better off keeping them as pickled, canned summer squash, relish or you can preserve them as crudites.
With numerous recipes available for making ready-to-eat summer squash preserves, there is no reason why you can not preserve summer squash using water bath canning method jars, including zucchini (aka courgettes).
The main reason for summer squash being a challenge to preserve them is due to their low content in food acidity.
Luckily, we have curated some of the best summer squash or zucchini pairings with other commonly used veggies you need to preserve them as an acidified condiment such as pickles, relish, or crudités, and water bath or steam can the jars.
And, if you are new to canning summer squash, they actually come in different types as this most sought after vegetable, comprising many different cultivars of which a few of them, are edible species of plants.
And unlike butternut squash or pumpkin, summer squash vegetables are only in season during summer, hence the name “summer squash”. All the varieties of summer squash are available in farmers’ markets for sell price.
Although these vegetables are very similar, they do differ a little in their texture, flavor, and ideal use, so it makes sense to learn a little bit about summer squash, and the good news is that if you know how to preserve zucchini, you will be able to enjoy summer squash throughout all seasons.
Now before we see if it’s safe to can summer squash. Let’s look at the seven different types of summer squash and their differences.
This is the most popular type of summer squash, and you’ll find these in green, mostly, but also yellow and, occasionally, in dark green with pale green stripes.
Many favor this type of summer squash because it’s yummy, fresh, and is good average summer squash. Many love it’s sweet, powerful flavor, it’s flesh is either tender or very firm, and it’s said to grow big, like a baseball bat size.
However, when buying, always go for the small size, because this vegetable tends to get watery and bland when it is bigger.
2. Pattypan Squash
Pattypan squash is also known as UFO squash, It’s shaped roughly like a flying saucer, with scalloped sides and it’s skin is said to be the toughest among all other types of summer squash, which is a good quality because it means it will hold up to longer cooking and higher temperatures than, let’s say, the zucchini.
Many households love mixing this vegetable with stews and chilis. The pattypan squash comes in colors as yellow and green, and they all taste the same even when they are different in colors.
3. Crookneck Squash
This type of summer squash is not very common, it’s shape is bulbous at the bottom, thin and also curved at the top. But it doesn’t mean that they all look the same because some are smooth like zucchini. But you’ll also find tough ones.
4. Zephyr Squash
This type of summer squash is known for having two-tone coloration, and it is light green n the bottom and Yellow at the top part. This type is also tough, making it awesome for preserving to use in the future.
5. Cousa Squash
This type of summer squash is pale, green, and a little more bulbous, but all have the exact same shape. It is mostly found in the middle Eastern cuisines but is available worldwide. The flavor is sweet and powerful and has thick skin.
6. Round Zucchini
This spherical type of summer squash is very easy to preserve because of it’s strong skin, it’s available in yellow, light green, and dark green this squash is similar to the zucchini, and has a grapefruit-like shape.
Many people love this type of summer squash because it is easy to preserve, and it tastes great as well in soup and other relishing.
7. Tatuma Squash
This type of summer squash originates in Mexico, and it can be either be spherical or shaped roughly like the cousa squash and is available in two colors, light or dark green.
What makes it different from the other types of summer squash is its thin skin, and it also contains many tiny seeds inside.
8. Tinda Squash
This type of summer squash is the weird one, it comes in colors such as pale green, is perfectly smooth, and shaped like a large beefsteak tomato.
The tinda squash is not closely related to the zucchini or any other squash but is the immature fruit of a related squash family plant.
It’s white and creamy on the inside, a mild but really delicious variety that you should try if you get a chance. Many don’t like this type of summer squash because it’s a bit difficult to preserve.
So after doing some research, we found out that it is 100% safe to can summer squash.
So, if you are ready to start canning your summer squash for use in winter and beyond, here are some of the popular methods of canning summer squash.
And this particular method must use a pressure canner, After all, Zucchini and summer squashes must always be canned using a pressure canner.
This is because a pressure canner can heat up to 240 degrees Fahrenheit while Water bath canners only reach boiling point temperatures, summer squashes are low acid foods, and they must be canned with a pressure canner to avoid the danger of contracting botulism or other foodborne diseases.
However, canning is not the best option for all types of summer squash, especially if you want your results to be crisp, crunchy, freezing is the best option for those seeking such results. Below we have listed a very easy method to follow when you preserve your summer squash.
1. Firstly you must gather around your canning jars, then clean and sterilize them.
You must either wash the canning jars in the dishwasher or simply in hot water with lots of soap.
After that, you must warm the summer squash up by putting them in the oven and heating them at 240 degrees. While they are warming up, make the jars ready, make sure you sterilize the lids as well.
Simply boil some water in a big pot and then drop the lids inside and the bands too. This Process is to help give them warm and ready while you’re busy preparing the summer squash and the canning jars.
2. Then the next step is to prepare the summer squash
You must wash your summer squash thoroughly, making sure you remove all the impurities on the skin and then cut the ends off and peel if you prefer it that way.
After that, you can then cut the squash into whatever shapes or sizes you need, either thick rounds or cubes, and you can also spiralize or shred your ingredients depending on how you plan to use them later on.
You must avoid mashing the ingredients before canning this is because tests have proven that there are density issues with mashed squash that can prevent adequate heat distribution.
Another option for you is to blanch the squash before canning as well as this helps preserve some of its freshness but is not a required step.
3. After that fill the canning jars with the summer squash
In this step, you need to place the slices of the summer squash into the canning jars and make sure you leave an inch of headspace. If you prefer, you can add salt but avoid adding too much because the summer squash will become too salty.
4. Then pour boiling water over the summer squash
This is to help preserve much be, pour the hot water, and make sure you still keep the headspace, then press with a wooden spoon or tap the jar gently on the counter to remove air bubbles and preserve it well.
After that, make sure you wipe the rim of the canning jars with a clean, damp cloth, and place the lids and bands on the jars. There you go, as easy as that.
5. Then its time to Process the canning jars
You’re almost done, this stage requires you to process your squash at 10 lbs pressure weighted gauge, or 11 lbs for a dial gauge.
If you are canning at a higher altitude, you will need to adjust accordingly as A full canner of pint jars will take around fifty-five minutes, while one of the quarts will take about ninety minutes.
Make sure your canner is maintaining adequate pressure during this time. When the time has stopped, wait for the canner to stabilize back to a neutral pressure before removing the lid.
Trying to remove the jars before the pressure has equalized can be dangerous. You can always just let the cans cool in the canner along with the water.
6. After that allow the canning jars cool
When the canning pressure process is done, you should then place the jars on clean towels to cool and seal. Keep them away from a breeze, as this can cause the jars to crack. Which will be a great set back if it cracks, so be careful.
7. You’re done, simply Store the jars
After the previous step, you’re done, as easy as that. Your summer squash is safety preserved and will store for several months.
If you are interested in seeing if your squash is spoiled, simply check out for mold or discoloration, although some white residue atop the jars is a normal byproduct of canning. You can simply wipe it away, no need to worry about that.
In conclusion: It is very much safe to preserve (using the canning method) summer squash but avoid smashing because tests have proven that there are density issues with mashed squash that can prevent adequate heat distribution, which can cause food poisoning.
But also, canning is not the best option for you if what you seek is crisp and crunchy, freezing is the best option for those seeking such results.