Yes, yellow squash and zucchini can be preserved using the water bath canner method! I have used this method for a while now, and I will never preserve squash any other way! Once you’ve tried it, I think you will agree.
Over the years, there has been waffling to either side of the debate around the best and safest method for canning squash. See, squash is one of those low-acid foods that certainly cannot be canned without reaching the proper temperature. That is, unless you have the magic secret!
So why not just process it in the pressure canner, you ask? Well, I don’t think I’m alone in the opinion that the temperature of pressure canning cooks them down to mush. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good sautee’, but I like to preserve foods for a variety of recipes, as well.
Either way, why would we chance that beautiful harvest of yellow squash and zucchini squash from the garden?? This recipe allows us to savor that fresh flavor and it holds its form for use in any recipe, even frying!
So, you’re asking HOW this can be done. Let me share what I have learned! The secrets to the success of processing squash by the water bath method are adding the appropriate amount of acid and parboiling the squash. It really is just that simple!
Canned Squash for ANY Recipe
So, let me give you details!
First order of business is to get your jars ready for your yummy squash!
Wash and sterilize your jars, flats, and rings. I personally wash my jars in very hot soapy water and rinse in very hot water. Our water from the tap is super hot, though, so the best measure is to wash the jars in hot soapy water and immediately place into a pot of steeping hot water, let them set for a couple minutes and remove.
Place the hot jars on a thick towel on the counter top. Do the same with the flats and rings. Dry the flats and rings and set aside.
To prepare the squash, it must be washed thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or possible germs. I use a simple homemade solution of 1:4 ratio of vinegar and water with a hefty spritz of lemon juice. Specifically, I combine 1 cup of vinegar with 4 cups of water and add a couple tablespoons of lemon juice.
Shake this up in a spray bottle and you have a long-lasting, very effective cleaning solution for all your vegetables.
Spray your veggies well and let them sit for a couple minutes and rinse.
Now is a good time to start heating your water in the water bath canner. This is my favorite water bath canner! Fill the canner about half full of water so the water will cover the jars by an inch when all the jars are placed in the canner. Bring to a boil while finishing the rest of your prep.
Let’s cut up the squash! Cut off the blossom end and the stalk end and discard. Keep in mind, any discarded pieces are excellent additions to the compost bin. (The chickens and the pigs love them, too!)
Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. When the seeds are removed, slice the halves into bite size pieces.
As you finish preparing your squash, begin heating your liquid for parboiling and filling your jars. I usually triple or even quadruple this recipe, depending on the amount of squash I need to process. On average, four recipes of liquid will be enough for 7 or 8 larger squash.
Bring the water, apple cider vinegar, and salt to a gentle boil in a good size stock pot or dutch oven.
Add the squash pieces to the boiling water and parboil for about five minutes.
Using a large slotted spoon, and a funnel in your jars, scoop the squash from the boiling water and into the jars. Fill to the curve of the jar. Tap the bottom of the jar on the covered counter top to ensure the squash settles and the jars are full. Use a knife or small spatula to wipe around the inside perimeter of the jars to remove any air bubbles.
When your jars are filled, turn off the heat under the boiling vinegar mixture. Ladle the vinegar water into your jars. As you fill each jar, wipe the rim with a paper towel or clean cloth dipped in vinegar. Place a dry flat onto the rim then a ring. Tighten the rings only finger tight.
Your canner should be boiling by now and ready to put the finishing touch on your beautiful harvest! If you’re using a rack, lift it and secure the handles on the sides of your canner. Using a jar lifter. load each jar into the canner. When the rack is loaded, lower the rack into the hot water.
Cover the canner and set your timer. Process 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quarts. *Remember to add five minutes to your processing times if you are above 1000 feet elevation.
When the timer is finished, remove the lid and wait five minutes to allow the water to stop boiling before removing jars. This will prevent leakage of the liquid that will be boiling inside the jars at the end of the processing time. At this point, use the jar lifted and place the jars on a towel-covered surface to cool.
Enjoy your beautiful canned squash in any of your favorite recipes throughout the year. It will taste as if you picked it fresh from the garden every time!
Canned Squash for ANY Recipe
- 4-5 squash
- 4 T apple cider vinegar
- 3½ c water
- ¾ T canning or noniodized salt
- Bring water, vinegar, and salt to a boil.
- Prepare squash by removing seeds. Cut into bite-size pieces.
- Parboil squash in vinegar mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Scoop squash from vinegar mixture into prepared jars. Remove liquid from heat and ladle into jars. Wipe rims clean and seal jars. Process pints for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes. Add 5 minutes to processing time if above 1000 ft. elevation.