Canning Zucchini

by Merissa on August 27, 2012

in Canning and Preserving, Featured

Canning Zucchini - Little House Living


Canning Zucchini

My freezer is not in good shape this canning season. It's already full with meats and well....pretty much a lot of meats right now. I don't have room for my normal amount of frozen vegetables that I try and do so this year I had to come up with an alternative.

A few weeks ago after picking another few hundred zucchini in the garden me and my mom were talking about what we should do with it. Normally we shred and freeze to save for future Zucchini Breads and Zucchini Brownies. Even Zucchini Cakes. But with the lack of room this year we decided to can it up instead. (Head over here to check out our big page of Quick Zucchini Recipes!)

According to Putting Food By, Zucchini and other summer squashes can be canned at 10lbs of pressure for 35 - 40 minutes. (Depending on if you have quarts or pints.) Make sure to check your pressure canner for exact instructions and adjust for higher altitude as needed.

I started by shredding my zucchini and packing it very very tightly in the jars. Pack as much as you can while still leaving some headspace in the jar. After you do this, add a little salt and water to fill the rest of the space in the jar. Make sure you still leave the headspace. Clean the jars for any water before you add the lids and rims.

Can quarts at 10 pounds of pressure for 40 minutes. Make sure not to touch the canner after you'e finished until it's completely de-pressurized. (I have step by step pics for using a pressure canner over here.) Once you are done you will have lots of jars saved for winter baking and cooking and you didn't even have to take up any freezer space!

You can also can zucchini in pieces instead of shredded. Remember that when you use it, it's pretty much already "cooked" so canned zucchini is best in breads and baked goods.

Please check with your local extension office about adjustments in time/temps/high altitudes.

Have you ever tried canning zucchini? Do you have any canned zucchini on your shelf right now?

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michele August 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

Thanks! Do you use the canned zucchini just like you would use the frozen? …. like in breads and such?

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2 Merissa August 27, 2012 at 11:42 am

Yes, that’s exactly what I plan to us it for.

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3 KimH August 27, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I notice there are no after photos… I’ve never canned shredded zuchs but I do can the sliced rounds. They’re pretty sad looking when they’re done but thats ok by me. They’re just going into stews over the winter. I was wondering how your jars turned out.

Another thing you might want to consider is dehydrating your zucchini if you have a dehydrator. If not, you may be able to pick a good one up for about $50/$60. I have a Nesco Jerky Maker/Dehydrator and it works fantastically. I was planning on buying a very expensive dehydrator and then I got this one for Christmas last year. I no long have any need for any other cuz this one works great.

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4 Merissa August 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm

They look exactly the same after except a little more of a yellow color.

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5 Wendy August 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

Do you make zucchini chips with your dehydrator, or slices and checks to use later? I have a pressure cooker but not sure if it works. (We found it in a house back when we cleaned out foreclosures.) Just wandering if you rehydrate later to cook with. Thanks.

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6 KimH August 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I do make zuch rounds, like chips with my dehydrator. When you rehydrate them, the skins are a little bit tough but not unpleasantly so. I just toss them in soups as I said.. it gives you something to bite into I guess

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7 Valerie August 28, 2012 at 9:08 am

Do you drain the liquid out of the jars before using the zucchini in recipes? I want to try this, but need to know how to use it once I’ve finished. :) Great idea, by the way…I’ve been trying to figure out how to store all of my zucchini with a packed freezer. :)

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8 Merissa August 28, 2012 at 9:09 am

Yes I do.

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9 Amanda E August 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

just an FYI according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation canning zucchini is not recommended. Here is what their website says:

Why is canning summer squash or zucchini not recommended?
Recommendations for canning summer squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times. Squashes are low-acid vegetables and require pressure canning for a known period of time that will destroy the bacteria that cause botulism. Documentation for the previous processing times cannot be found, and reports that are available do not support the old process. Slices or cubes of cooked summer squash will get quite soft and pack tightly into the jars. The amount of squash filled into a jar will affect the heating pattern in that jar. It is best to freeze summer squashes or pickle them for canning, but they may also be dried.

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10 Merissa August 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I have seen this online but for anyone that would like to know my information above comes from a 2010 Edition of Putting Food By.

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11 kim August 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

There is no 2012 edition. The book you have was published in 2010, therefore as to the canning of zuchinni, it is wrong. I had issues with this post on a canning site. They thought because you posted this, it makes it safe. Thanks for posting, it helps us all learn.

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12 Merissa August 29, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I stated that I have the 2010 Edition. I feel as though it is safe to can zucchini and we have never had an issue with it. I know many many canners that can things that the government declares “unsafe” all of the time. I’m sorry that this post is disappointing to you but I’m simply stating what works for me and many others, not what the government believes we should do.

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13 Briana August 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

The government also says many things are SAFE that are clearly unsafe for us!!! You really think the government wants to know how to grow, can, and cook our own food? Then how will they get us to depend on them if they did that?

14 Aubryn July 23, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I am frankly sick to death of the government thinking it can or should tell us what to do. The government is our employee, we tell it what to do. The government has no special wisdom about canning and states that virtually all canning is scary and unsafe! Could this be to cause unthinkers to buy into the fear and dependency culture?

15 Jen August 29, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Merissa is simply showing what works for her family- she is not saying she is the authority on canning. She is simply showing what her family has done for years. It is up to people to do their own research and make an informed decision on what they feel will work best for their family. I appreciate the time she takes to explain her process. She puts a lot of thought and time into her post and I greatly appreciate all her handwork!
Thank Merissa!

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16 Jennie August 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm

I so appreciate all of your knowledge and hard work on this Merissa. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could trust everything the government said? :)

17 KimH September 2, 2012 at 9:53 am

From what I’ve read, the USDA actually LOST the data on canning zucchini and didnt/couldnt/wouldnt do the research over. It was easier for them to simply eliminate it.

We have a large Amish population in our area who can a lot of things in ways that “our government” doesnt recommend as did my own grandmother & great grandmother. They’ve been doing them that way for as long as canning has been used and their methods are perfectly safe, unless you only follow what the USDA says.

The data from the USDA is a GUIDELINE and for folks who have & use common sense, that is how its used.

18 KimGB August 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Merissa, How long would i process the pints, i know you said 40 mins for quarts.

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19 Merissa August 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Putting Food By says 30 minutes for pints. (But of course, adjust for higher altitudes if needed.)

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20 Erin August 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm

So are you at sea level?

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21 Merissa August 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm

We are at 3200 feet.

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22 Erin August 17, 2013 at 7:16 am

Also have you ever forgotten the salt? If so is that terribly bad? Thank you!

23 KimGB August 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm

thank you

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24 Michelle Wimp September 2, 2012 at 6:32 am

thanks so much i was wondering what to do with all my zuchinni! lol! also i nominated you for the versatile blogger award. check out my blog for it (i would post the link directly but didnt know if it was ok with you or not). i
L-U-V your blog, it’s on my check first thing in the morning list!

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25 Merissa September 2, 2012 at 11:03 am

Feel free to post a link. Thanks for asking!

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26 Becky September 5, 2012 at 11:55 am

I had no idea you could can zucs! I’ve been freezing them, same as you. But since we lose power with every hurricane that passes through, canning is my preferred method to preserve everything. Definitely doing this next year!

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27 Jennifer November 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Could you do this with chunks also? I’ve canned all my spaghetti sauce, but I’d like to add some zucchini to it later on if I could can it this way. Thanks!

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28 Merissa November 9, 2012 at 5:19 pm

Yes you can!

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29 Jennifer November 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Thanks for the quick reply!

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30 Jennifer November 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Sorry, one more question. I’m canning as I ask, lol…so this is a cold pack? You don’t need or want to blanch? Thanks again!

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31 Merissa November 9, 2012 at 7:35 pm

No you don’t need to. In fact I think if you do you would make it really quite soggy.

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32 April April 4, 2013 at 9:06 am

So now that you’ve used it all winter do you like the texture and outcome? I thought shredded zucchini would be too delicate to pressure can without disintegrating.

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33 W.GLENN SOMERS June 19, 2013 at 11:41 am

as for your over filled freezer don’t you can meats? we can anything from ribs to london broil keeps a lot safer and just as good and you don’t need to worry about power outages.

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34 Kori August 8, 2013 at 5:38 pm

We actually found a few recipes for canning meats with a pressure cooker. We can portions of our venison each hunting season for each winter.

I have been using my great grandma’s recipe (similar to this one) for canning my zucchini.

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35 Pam June 29, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Loved reading about the canning of zucchini. Just finished canning potatoes (7 quarts) and will have more to can ( half a wheelbarrow full!).

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36 kellen August 3, 2013 at 7:06 pm

How much headspace should you leave?

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37 Merissa August 3, 2013 at 7:19 pm

At least 1/2 – 3/4 inch.

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38 fillippa August 6, 2013 at 5:04 am

How much salt per qt or pt?? Want to try this, as I have way to much zucchini not enough freezers space

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39 Merissa August 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

I would say about 1/2 teaspoon of salt per quart.

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40 fillippa August 6, 2013 at 5:11 am

My grandmother taught my mom how to can, she used any kind of jar (Mayo, fluff, mustard, ext..) to can in as long as the lid and collar fit to seal. But the USDA will say only to use jars made for canning.

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41 colleen August 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Have you ever tried zucchini pineapple. I am hoping to try this out this year.

http://hickeryhollerfarm.blogspot.com/2011/09/pineapple-zucchini.html

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42 Merissa August 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I haven’t. If you try let us know!

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43 Mindy September 28, 2013 at 8:47 pm

I made pineapple zucchini this year and it turned out great. My daughter who hates veggies will eat an entire pint in one sitting. The zucchini will have the texture of a pear but tastes like pineapple.

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44 Geri September 9, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thanks. Lve this site
. First time here. As I’M sheddig zucc to make bread I was wondering if you could can zucc. Send me recipes. I love old ones. I am little house on prairie :-)

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45 Betty September 18, 2013 at 11:30 am

I don’t have a pressure cooker. Can I water bathe zucchini if I do it for a long time without any problems?

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46 Merissa September 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Zucchini must be pressure canned because it’s a low acid vegetable to be safe.

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47 Rachel September 30, 2013 at 6:35 am

I am wondering if you have had lots of space in your jars after you process them? I canned these yesterday, and its almost like they cooked down or settled more after (I made sure to pack fairly tight, and get all of the air out-I left 1/2 an inch of headspace) processed for higher altitude-thoughts?

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48 Merissa September 30, 2013 at 7:18 am

They do cook down some when they are processed.

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49 Rachel September 30, 2013 at 9:19 am

good to know :) thank you!

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50 Magic and Mayhem October 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I’ve never canned zucchini but I’ve heard that it gets mushy that way. I typically freeze it shredded and use it for quick breads (squeezed). Canning guru Jackie from Backwoods Magazine’s “Ask Jackie” column says: “Shredded zucchini doesn’t can up very well; it gets mushy. It’s better frozen or dehydrated. Or best used fresh from the garden, of course.” I’m curious what you use it for and how it performs later. I’m guessing it would still be okay for quick breads, even if it did get mushy? I don’t know if it would get waterlogged and perform badly though. I’d love to hear how you use the canned stuff. Thanks.
~Alicia

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51 Merissa October 10, 2013 at 6:13 am

I use the canned the same way we use frozen, in breads, cookies, ect. I personally don’t think any canned or frozen zucchini is good for much else, it just doesn’t taste the same when you try and fry it.

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52 Debbie Miller March 25, 2014 at 11:50 am

I never thought to can zucchini, thank you so much! I’m sure I will have lots to can this yr.

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53 Lisa April 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm

I use zucchini as noodles for chicken noodle soup. Was wondering if you can zucchini in noodle shapes could they be added to broth and chicken for soup? My kids can’t wait to have zucchini from the garden. This would be awesome if it would.

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54 Merissa April 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm

It may end up being too soggy, I’ve found that canned zucchini works best for baked goods.

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55 Diana April 15, 2014 at 11:46 am

Wow! Am so excited I found this site, look forward to preserving my zucchinis because they are among my favorite veggies and I’ve not had good luck with freezing. Thanks!

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56 Big Mama Blue July 19, 2014 at 8:53 pm

I was very excited to see your zucchini canning experiment. Wonder how all turned out and was used up? It is very difficult not to reach for a fresh veggie or fruit in the grocery store when most everything is available year around. I have to “hold my own hand” not to pick up some imported stuff, but go home and look all the full shelves I packed and packed all summer and fall. I religiously try to not plant more zucchini than we eat during the season, but last year my two plants got sick, so this year I doubled them. Of course now we have loads! Anyway, I think I’ll try the canning, but will salt it and let it stand first. Rinse and put in hot jars mixed with chopped dill and a spoonful of lemon juice or vinegar, fill it with hot water. I’ll try the 10 pound of pressure and see how all that works out. In the winter I’ll sauté some onion, mix some flour (make rough) with it, pour the zucchini on top have it boil and see what happens. I’m not afraid of canning, making chick broth, turkey and fish broth every year. It works great for me. Never be afraid to try anything!

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57 Merissa July 19, 2014 at 10:20 pm

It’s great! I think canned zucchini is best for baking (similar to frozen zucchini). I’m not sure I would want it fried but that’s just my personal taste :)

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58 Julie B July 27, 2014 at 5:22 am

I have canned zucchini to use as a substitute for crushed
Pineapple. Found the recipe on Recipezaar ( which
Has since changed their website name )
I unfortunately am having issues with squash bugs killing my plants

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59 Wendy August 28, 2014 at 9:39 am

I have used DE (diatomaceous earth) my squash plants to kill the squash bugs. You have to reapply every other day or so, but it is worth it since it isn’t a chemical. I also put it on my dogs food to kill parasites and dust them with it in the summer to kill fleas and ticks. I also put it in my chicken coop to kill mites. Great stuff! (My cousin got bed bugs from a rent house and this stuff killed them.)

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60 Monica Jertson Cateron July 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Interesting idea. I know the USDA doesn’t recommend canning zucchini but last fall I had some leftover and canned chunks with chunks of tomatoes and garlic and I use it for a quick pasta sauce. It’s delicious and small enough chunks that I’m not worried about the density issue (which is the subject the “research that was lost”).

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61 Erica August 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Hello, LOVE your blog and I see you have tons of comments and questions already answered, but I was wondering if you peel your zucchini before you shred it, or if you just can it skins and all? also, do you think this will work for all squash? I have yellow squash that looks like zucchini (not sure what it is) that was given to me and want to can that too. Thanks for all this great info :) definitely following your blog!

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62 Merissa August 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I do peel it but that’s just may family’s preference, you don’t have to. I haven’t tried this with yellow squash but it sounds like you just have a yellow zucchini :)

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63 Brian August 7, 2014 at 7:05 am

I tried this, and it did work. I then actually used one of the quarts, as I was short on fresh for a zucchini cobbler. It worked fine. A quart of canned yielded about 2.5 cups of usable in the recipe.

I did have one small issue in the canning process. I added the boiling water to the packed zucchini, and the air kept bubbling up. I would add more water, and it would slowly soak in. I didn’t know when to stop. After I canned it, I had almost 2 inches of head space. So this next time, I will not be as concerned about not having enough head space, and fill the jar to the brim with water, knowing in the processing, more air will rise to the top.

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64 Shannon August 7, 2014 at 9:55 am

Every year I plant way too much zucchini, and end up with a ton. A few years ago I started canning Zucchini Pineapple. It is basically cubed, seeded, peeled zucchini simmered in a sugar/pineapple juice. It absorbs the taste of the juice, and tastes exactly like pineapple chunks! My kids eat this (they used to actually think it was pineapple a few years ago), and I even make pineapple upside-down cake with it.

Thanks for this post……….I will try shredding and canning plain zucchini this week! Always welcome a new way to use my zucchini.

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65 Kiren August 8, 2014 at 5:20 pm

Do you use regular salt of canning salt?

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66 Merissa August 8, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I use regular salt.

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67 Cindy August 10, 2014 at 5:40 pm

I am canning my first zucchini ever right now. I sliced them rather thick, then cubed or quartered the slices. I have 3 quarts in, and 3 quarts of cabbage (another “government says” no-no), but people have been doing this for years, and I feel it’s just as safe as canning just about anything else. I LOVE eating just plain old boiled zucchini, so I think this will be great when it’s done.
I will have to find a recipe for the pineapple zucchini. I wonder how it would be when dehydrated? I’m going to try it anyway. I’m not a big fan of pineapple, but will eat it. So, gotta try it at least once, might be better than pineapple even!

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68 Gail August 25, 2014 at 2:51 pm

Tried both of the ways you suggested for canning zucchini. I believe the slices turned out the best.
The grated don’t look as good; seems a lot of the water content somehow got out during the processing. They lost a lot of volume, too.
Many thanks for getting these recipes out.

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69 Karen R August 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Do I need to peel my zucchini or potatoes before I can it can it with the skin on?

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70 Merissa August 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm

You can preserve them with the skin on.

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71 Jen August 29, 2014 at 4:26 pm

I am canning a tomato paste/sauce right now. It is mostly tomatoes but I threw in red pepper, spicy peppers, carrot, onion, garlic and zucchini. I look to see which ingredient has the longest process time and then go by that. Half pint and pint jars of hot peppers, for example, are processed for 35 minutes so I am processing my half pint sauce (I added citric acid too) for 35 minutes. I am at sea level so I will be using 10 lbs of pressure. Just thought I’d share!

When in doubt throw it out. I don’t accept canned foods from strangers/others and if I have a question I stick to the USDA tried (lab tested) and true recipes. I haven’t lost anyone yet ;).

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72 MaryJo September 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm

I’d like to thank you for the info on zucchini. I’ve frozen it for yrs and did a lot already so the idea of canning it made my day. I got 8 quarts done today and look forward to using it this winter. I’m hoping this is the end of it. I’ve got zucchini cakes and bread in the freezer and gave lots away. Again Thank You for sharing this.

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73 Merissa September 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

No problem MaryJo, glad I could help!

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74 RosemaryBayless September 16, 2014 at 9:53 am

My first time on this site,i love it..so helpful.thank you. I will be caning zucc. today.

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75 Darcy September 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

I was wondering if you have ever canned spaghetti squash like you do the shredded zucchini. I can freeze it, but would love to keep freezer space for other items if I can.

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76 Merissa September 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm

I actually haven’t tried that yet. If you do try it I’d love to know how it goes!

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77 Merissa September 2, 2012 at 11:00 am

Very interesting Kim!

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78 Merissa August 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm

I haven’t but I’m guessing it wouldn’t matter much.

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