Today we are going to explore how to can summer squash and how to can and preserve winter squash.
As many of you already know and our helping us out this week as I am going through the week long conference our church offers called For My Life. Between 50 hours of teaching plus homework, working on the kitchen slowly but surely and preparing for Melanie (Kevin’s mom) to arrive on Saturday we are more than a little swamped. In light of this I was totally blessed by some guest posts this week and know you will thoroughly enjoy yourself. I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to our first guest poster on the blog Kelsey Rodriguez.
Kelsey goes way back with our family. Long ago she decided my brother was cute and we decided that she was part of our family. She made the perfect match when she met her husband Alé but she will always be my big sister. God knew how badly I wanted one and she toted me around at 13 and listened to my crush stories and bought me Jamocha shakes and curly fries at Arby’s.
She explained things that my parents wouldn’t and quietly didn’t mention to my mother that she was taking me to see her get her first tattoo. We once were paid $50 a piece to clean my parents whole house which we took an entire day to do. We ate a giant chocolate cake and had a bubble fight in my parents jacuzzi bathtub as we cleaned and were needlessly reckless.
To say the least she was my hero. Several years passed and she moved away and I turned into a self absorbed teenager. But Kels always made her way back to our house on her visits home and we began to be older more mature friends. Kev and I got married and we lamented to each other about wanting babies and not having any. We joked about how crazy it would be if we got pregnant at the same time and laughed at the improbability of it all.
God has a great sense of humor. And yes that is the jacuzzi tub 🙂
Our boys were born 2 weeks apart and when we came home to Oregon for our visit at 5 months old were instant friends. Noah even gave Julian his snotty nose he liked him so much.
So apart from being sisters, having the two cutest babies in the world and being great
house cleaners cake eaters we also are both obsessed with backyard homesteading. The Rodriguez’s have the cutest little house in The Dalles where they have a perfect little city lot. Apart from the chickens, ducks and garden in the backyard not so long ago she wrangled a PIG into her backyard! No joke! (And this is totally legal there BTW- oh Oregon how I love you!)
My point? They are hardcore urban homesteaders.
She also cans and pickles up a storm and has an entire basement filled with delicious food she puts up herself every year.
With no further ado I leave you in her very capable hands.
How to Can Squash: Winter and Summer
There is a wonderful world of squashes out there and I would like to help you decide the best way to preserve them for your needs and resources.
There are two types of squashes, Winter and Summer. I will start with preserving the winter squash because it is the easiest. Winter squashes preserve the best as is put in a cool place such as a basement. Every year I harvest and store acorn squash, spaghetti squash, and butternut squash, in my basement and they all last till the next summer with no spoiling. There are several more winter squash but they all store pretty much the same.
The one winter squash the I feel doesn’t store quite as well as the others is the pumpkin, but there are options for this as well as all the other winter squashes if you do not wish or cannot store them whole. If you do not have a basement or cellar you can create under ground storage options by burying an old trash can like so:
Full tutorial and image source here
For the average orange pumpkin I prefer to can or freeze them.
How To Freeze Pumpkin
Wash, peel, and remove seeds. Cut pumpkin into sections and steam until soft. Mash together, cool, and pack into canning or freeze jars of plastic freezer boxes, leaving ½ inch headspace. Seal, label and freeze.
How To Can Pumpkin
The only safe way recommended by the USDA for canning pumpkin is to can it cubed. So you will wash, peel and remove seeds. Steam the pumpkin until soft (you can peel after steaming if preferred). Cut pumpkin into 1 inch cubes and fill your jars with the cubes, DO NOT pack tightly. Cover with boiling water leaving 1 inch headspace. Place lids on jars. Process ONLY in a pressure canner, use Tables 1 and 2 for pressure and times.
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Pumpkin and Winter Squash in a dial-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
Style of Pack
0 – 2,000 ft
2,001 – 4,000 ft
4,001 – 6,000 ft
6,001 – 8,000 ft
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Pumpkin and Winter Squash in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
Style of Pack
0 – 1,000 ft
Above 1,000 ft
This process can be used for any of the winter squash, but as I mentioned earlier, the other winter squash preserve very well as is.
Summer Squash, Zucchini and Yellow Squash
Summer squash allows you to get creative and have some fun!
Summer Squash can also be frozen, canned or dried. One to two plants produces so much squash that you usually have the option to do all three every summer!
These are my favorite ways to preserve the bounty:
Dried Zucchini Chips
Slices zucchinis thin, about 1/8 inch or slightly thicker, lightly salt and put in dehydrater. All dehydraters are different so I can’t give you an exact time they will be finished but keep a close eye on them and remove when they seems almost done but still slightly moist. The chips will crisp up once cooled down. Package with vacuum sealer or glass air tight container to enjoy all winter.
How To Freeze Zucchini
I like to freeze my zucchini shredded and measured to the amount to make a loaf or two of zucchini bread. Slice or shred your zucchini, blanch for 3 minutes, cool down and drain. Pack into can or freeze jars or vacuum package, seal, label and freeze.
How To Can Zucchini
Canned Zucchini can be pickled or made into relish. Here are my favorite two recipes:
- 1 pound zucchini
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar (I prefer less sugar then this, so add to your taste)
- 1½ teaspoons dry mustard
- 1½ teaspoons crushed yellow and/or brown mustard seeds
- Scant 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- Wash and trim the zucchini, then slice them one-sixteenth-inch thick. Slice the onion very thin as well. Combine the zucchini and onions in a large but shallow nonreactive bowl, add the salt and toss to distribute. Add a few ice cubes and cold water to cover, then stir to dissolve the salt. .
- After about 1 hour, taste and feel a piece of zucchini — it should be slightly softened. Drain and pat dry.
- Combine the vinegar, sugar ( you can add less or more to your taste), dry mustard, mustard seeds and turmeric in a small saucepan and simmer for 3 minutes. Set aside until just warm to the touch. (If the brine is too hot, it will cook the vegetables and make the pickles soft instead of crisp.)
- Return the zucchini to a dry bowl and pour over the cooled brine. Stir to distribute the spices. Transfer the pickle to jars, preferably ones that have “shoulders” to hold the zucchini and onions beneath the surface of the brine. Seal tightly and refrigerate for at least a day before serving to allow the flavors to mellow and permeate the zucchini, turning them a brilliant chartreuse color. You can also process in a boiling water canner for longer storage. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.
- 2 cups chopped zucchini
- 1 cup chopped onion
- ½ cup chopped sweet green bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped sweet red pepper
- 2 TBSP canning salt
- 1 Cup sugar (do more or less to your taste)
- 2 teaspoons celery seed
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- Combine zucchini, onion, green and red peppers, sprinkle with salt, cover with cold water and let stand 2 hours.
- Drain, rinse and drain thoroughly.
- Combine remaining ingredients in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables and simmer for 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot pint or ½ pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two piece caps.
- Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.
There are so many varieties of squashs and so many ways to preserve that it is worth planting enough to ensure a bountiful harvest!
What are your favorite things to do with winter and summer squash? We’d love to try your recipes and ideas!