Saturday, September 03, 2011

Canning My Summer Squash

I Have Stopped Counting How Many!

Our garden this year has been producing a huge amount of summer squash. Mostly the yellow crookneck type. But zucchini has been coming too. So instead of giving it away or selling it out front, I have been canning it. Canning books and "experts" will tell you that you cannot can it. When asked for the reason why, they say it is because you won't be happy with the finished product. Well, how do they know what I will be happy with? In fact, I am very happy with it.

Huge Squash Plant Took Over Our Compost Pile!

I have written on here a few times about the squash plant that grew in our composting pile on its own. Well this plant has taken over the whole compost pile. My husband can hardly get the wheelbarrow in there to empty the manure from the barn every morning!

Strange Looking Squash!

This plant has squash on it that looks like footballs, I am NOT kidding! So with all this squash from our garden I am using up my supply of empty canning jars pretty rapidly. Mind you, I am not complaining. I like doing that. Before long, my pantry won't have a spot left in it to put anything more.

I Peel, Seed & Cube It!

This is how I can the summer squash if you'd like to try it. Because I have done it in the past, I know to peel it and seed it. The peel becomes tough after canning and sitting in the jars. We ate it, but it was tough. And the seeds were just too much too. So I get rid of both for canning. I have been cutting it in chunks instead of slices. It will work good this way, and since I use it in casseroles anyway, it won't matter a bit.

Canning Equipment Is Ready!

You can put them in your jars raw, or fill a stock pot with the chunks of squash and add water to the top. I have done it both ways. Then heat until boiling point. While you are heating that, fill your clean canning jars with hot water so they are warmed up. Get your lids and rims ready, and put them in hot water to wait until you need them. Once the squash and water is hot, take that off your stove, and put your pressure canner (NOT a pressure cooker........there IS a difference!) on the burner with about 3" of water in it.

Use A Pressure Canner!

You can put 1/2 - 1 tsp. of salt in the jar before you fill it, if you want to. Salt is just for taste. Sometimes I add it, and sometimes I don't. Fill a jar with the squash and add enough hot water to go to 1/2" from the top. Then wipe the rim of the jar and put a dry rim and lid on. Put the jar in the canner and do the rest of the jars the same way. After it has exhausted for 10 minutes, put the regulator on it, and bring it up to pressure. In my case, it is 10 lbs. pressure for 25 minutes for quarts, or 20 minutes for pints.

 Canned Summer Squash!

After its time is up, I turn the burner off and the pressure will drop. Do not try to open it or take the regulator off before the pressure is at zero. I wait till I hear a little noise from the exhaust, then I still wait about five minutes, before removing the regulator or the lid. Always lift the lid away from you so you don't get burned. Then I let the jars sit about five minutes more with the lid off. Then I take each jar out with the jar lifter, and set the jar on a doubled towel in a spot where they can sit for 24 hours undisturbed. Do not attempt to remove the rims until the 24 hours is up. I always wash the jars after I take the rim off. Then label the lid before putting them away in your pantry or root cellar.

 Our Favorite Squash Casserole!

One of our favorites is my famous squash casserole. The canned squash is perfect for that. I can skip the step of cooking it first because it is cooked in the jars, and is already soft. The recipe is here, in my previous post, My Favorite Squash Casserole. I hope you will try it and enjoy it!

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011  Kathleen G. Lupole

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