Learning for Life: Safely preserve zucchini

We have received numerous calls from people who have found recipes on the internet for pressure canning summer squash, such as zucchini and want to know if this product is safe. Pressure canning summer squash is no longer recommended.

Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning to destroy the Clostridium botulinum spores that cause botulism. Sliced or cubed summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into jars. The amount of squash in a jar will affect the heating pattern in the jar making it difficult for scientists to determine precise, safe processing times for summer squash.

Adding an acid to summer squash will produce a safe product that can be processed in a boiling water bath canner as in summer squash pickles or relishes. It is important to use pickling recipes that have been tested to be sure there is the correct amount of acid, either bottled lemon juice or vinegar with 5 percent acidity.

Our free15-page publication, Zucchini from A to Z provides numerous recommendations to safely preserve zucchini- freezing, drying and pickling. There are also recipes for using fresh zucchini. You might as well enjoy this fresh-from-the-garden delight tonight for dinner!

This publication is available in our office and for our internet-searching friends, Zucchini from A to Z and other free food preservation publications can be found at http://www.uaf.edu/ces/pubs/catalog/. Just enter the word search “zucchini” and then scroll down to find “Zucchini from A to Z.”

The Extension Office is open weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and we’re located at 43961 Kalifornsky Beach Road, Suite A in Soldotna. For more information call us at 907-262-5824.

Submitted by Linda Tannehill, UAF School of Natural Resources and Extension; Health, Home and Family Development, Kenai Peninsula District.

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