Yellow squash, which is also known as summer squash, is highly nutritious and extremely versatile. Since it is easy to grow and bountiful during the warmer months, it is natural to want to preserve and store a supply to use throughout the year. However, yellow squash’s soft consistency and low acidity often make canning challenging.
Yellow squash is a low-acid vegetable that must be pressure canned. It has a soft consistency, and the texture of the squash is often affected by the canning process. Yellow squash can be pickled and water bath canned to retain a firmer texture. Canned yellow squash should be used within a year.
There are many ways to preserve the versatile goodness of yellow squash, and canning is just one method. Find out how to process your summer squash harvest so you can enjoy the fresh taste throughout the year.
Canning Yellow Squash
Because of its texture, canning yellow squash isn’t as straightforward as preserving many other vegetables. The pressure of the canning process often reduces the contents of the jars to mushy pulp.
Canned yellow squash can be used in a variety of recipes where a hearty vegetable base is required. However, canning this vegetable should be undertaken cautiously as USDA no longer recommends pressure canning as a safe method to preserve summer squash.
Pressure canning is no longer recommended for summer squash due to uncertainty about processing times. The National Center For Home Food Preparation has indicated that the squishy consistency of yellow squash when it is packed into jars affects the heating pattern. That means that in some instances, harmful bacteria may still be able to slip through.
Despite the reservations, the versatility of having a few jars of canned yellow squash available in your pantry year-round is appealing. Canning summer squash should be done mindfully, and extra care must be taken to ensure that jars remain in the pressure canner for the required processing time.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other techniques to preserve yellow squash. Other methods include using ingredients like vinegar to raise acidity so that jars can be sealed using a water bath canner. Preserving yellow squash using different methods like pickling, drying, or freezing are excellent alternatives to pressure canning.
What Kind Of Squash Is Yellow Squash?
Yellow squash is an umbrella term that encompasses several squash varieties. Since squash comes in all shapes and sizes, knowing your yellow squash varieties, from more common pumpkins, butternuts, and zucchini, can be tricky.
One of the main differences between yellow squash and most other types of squash is that they are considered ready when their outer rind is still soft and edible. Yellow squash is often collectively called summer squash. This is a reference to their short shelf life compared to winter squash varieties.
Common varieties of yellow squash include pattypan squash, yellow crookneck squash, yellow straightneck squash, zephyr squash, and chayote squash.
How To Can Squash In A Canner
Before committing to canning your entire summer squash harvest using a pressure canner, it is a good idea to make a small batch to try. Canned yellow squash often changes texture during pressure canning, so it may not come out as you hope.
Since it is a low-acidity vegetable, it is essential to pressure can yellow squash if it is to be canned without the addition of a preserving agent like vinegar. After canning, the resulting soft squash works well as a highly nutritious puree and base for casseroles and soups.
5 Easy Steps To Can Yellow Squash
Canning squash, including yellow squash, is a quick and easy process. Canning saves freezer space, and you don’t have to worry about possible power outages ruining your food.
To can summer squash that can be safely stored for up to a year, you will need the following equipment:
- A pressure canner
- Sterilized canning jars with new flat-top lids.
- A large stock pot
- Cutting board and sharp knife
- Canning salt
- Thoroughly inspect and wash the squash. Only use fresh, firm squash without soft spots or blemishes.
- Chop the squash into uniform-sized pieces. It can be cubes or sliced. Consider the size of your bottles when deciding what size the pieces should be.
- Bring the pieces of squash to boil in a pot of water on the stove. Only cook it briefly. You can add seasonings of your choice, for example, turmeric or pepper.
- Always warm your canning jars before adding hot food. You can do this by rinsing them with hot water or placing them in a hot oven before you fill them. Carefully ladle the hot mixture into warm canning jars.
- Add half a teaspoon of salt to each jar before wiping the rims and sealing with the cap and band.
- Place the jars into the pressure canner. Average pressure canning times are twenty-five minutes for pints and 30 minutes for quarts. Always check the instruction manual of your canner to make adjustments for your regional altitude.
- Turn off and allow the pressure to return to zero. Remove the jars and let them cool.
- Since the lids are sealed under pressure, you can remove the bands before storing them. Remember to label the jars with the date and keep the jars in a cool, dark area.
Pressure-canned squash should be used within a year. Once opened, bottles of canned yellow squash must be refrigerated.
How To Can Yellow Squash Without A Pressure Canner
If you don’t have a pressure canner, using the water bath canning method is the only alternative. However, it is not safe to can yellow squash on its own using this stovetop method for one simple reason – yellow squash is a low-acid food.
To get around this challenge, there are two options:
- Freeze or dry your entire yellow squash harvest
- Raise the acidity of your canning recipe to make it safe to water bath can.
Vinegar is an excellent natural preservative with a high-acid ingredient, so it is a valuable addition when canning summer squash.
Cubes of yellow squash should be parboiled in a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, and salt. With the acidity significantly raised, the vegetable becomes safe to bottle and seal using a regular water bath canner. If you don’t own a water bath canner, a large stock pot can also get the job done.
Since water bath canning is gentler than pressure canning, yellow squash preserved using this method retains its texture better. When preserved in cubes using the vinegar hack, the squash even maintains its form well enough to be fried.
Yellow Squash Canning Recipes
According to Clemson University, the recommended methods to preserve summer squash are freezing and pickling. They are understandably reluctant to advise canning since the low-acid summer vegetable tends to disintegrate when pressure canned so that it may heat inconsistently.
A practical solution to render yellow squash safe enough to can is to add a small amount of vinegar. The goal is to raise the acidity of the mixture to acceptable levels to make water bath canning a safe option. This method makes it possible to preserve these tender vegetables without them becoming mushy.
1. Easy Water Bath Canned Squash
Try this recipe to water bath can any type of squash, including yellow squash or zucchini. This recipe raises the vegetable’s acidity without imparting an overwhelmingly vinegary taste. Yellow squash preserved in this way can be used in most recipes.
- 4-5 Squash
- 4 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- 3½ Cups of water
- ¾ Tablespoons of canning salt
- Wash squash. Remove seeds and cut into bite-sized cubes.
- Bring water, vinegar, and salt solution to a boil in a large pot.
- Add the yellow squash and boil for 5 minutes.
- Ladle hot ingredients into warm, sterilized jars. Use a slotted spoon and start with the solid squash pieces. Once each jar is full of squash cubes, carefully fill it with the hot liquid to fill the gaps.
- Place new flat lids and bands on each bottle and lower them into the water bath.
- Process the pint jars for 15 minutes and quarts for 5 minutes longer.
2. Pickled Summer Squash
One of the safest methods to preserve yellow squash is by making it into zesty-tasting pickles. Including salt, vinegar, and plenty of sugar gives the mix a pleasing texture. The overall result is both sweet and tangy.
Note that although this recipe is not complicated, it requires plenty of time. The delicious, crunchy results are, however, well worth the effort.
- 2 Pounds of yellow squash
- 2 Onions
- ¼ Cup of salt
- Ice cold water to cover the mixture.
- 2 Cups of white sugar
- 3 Cups of apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tsp celery salt
- 1 Tsp Turmeric
- 2 Tsp Mustard seed
- Remove the seeds and cut the yellow squash and onions into strips.
- Mix the yellow squash and onions in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.
- Cover the mixture with icy water and stir to dissolve the salt. Cover the bowl and allow it to stand for two hours.
- After 2 hours, drain thoroughly. Removing as much water as possible will result in a crisper texture.
- Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and add the squash and onions.
- Switch off the heat and allow the mixture to stand for 2 hours.
- Finally, let the mixture boil for 5 minutes.
Canning – Pack the hot vegetable mix into warm jars, leaving a ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rims, and add lids—process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.
There is some controversy about the safety of canning yellow squash. Since it is a low-acid food, it must be pressure canned, but possible inconsistent heat distribution in the dense, soft mixture can make it risky. A far safer option to can yellow squash is to raise the acidity using vinegar and water bath canning. This gentler canning option also helps to preserve the consistency of summer squash.