Preserving Squash

A couple of years ago, we were starting to swim in summer squash. We had zucchini and yellow squash coming from our own garden. We were getting zucchini and patty pan squash from our CSA basket. Then one week we got a HUGE squash in our CSA basket. I am always in a quandary on how to preserve squash. We don’t really make zucchini bread, so grating it up and freezing in portions was not a good option for us. I had heard contradicting opinions on freezing it in slices or chunks. Some said it was still OK to use, others said it was mushy and watery. I had a friend can some one time. She said it came out mushy. I did not want to put a lot of time and effort into preserving it and then not using it. We like to saute it, or put it in salads or in stir fries.We have a book called Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation. Long name, huh!?This book tells many of the old ways that people have preserved their food. We used a technique from this book to preserve our squash.I cut the squash up in sevearl different ways. I did some in slices. We have friends that put the slices of squash on their sandwiches. I thought this would be good to try. I also did some in strips to put in stir fry and some in chunks to put in salads. You could do them any way you like. Then, I boiled some apple cider vinegar. I was going to do this in smaller batches instead of one big batch, so I just guessed at the amount of vinegar in my pan. You bring the vinegar to a boil and then turn the heat off. Put your cut up squash in the vinegar and let it sit for 5 minutes. Take the squash out of the vinegar and put it in jars. At this point, you can do several things. The recipe in the book calls for mint leaves. That did not sound good to me. I did do a couple of different things. I used salt in some of the jars, basil leaves in some of the jars and garlic cloves in some of the jars. I then filled the jar with extra virgin olive oil and made sure all the food was under the level of the oil. I put the lid on and stuck it on the shelf in my pantry. It sounds like you will be using a whole lot of olive oil. I did 10 quarts of squash and used about 3 liters of the oil.  That still sounds like a lot of oil, but as we emptied a jar of squash, I would use the olive oil in salad dressings, so it did get used up.  We even used it on popcorn that had been air popped.  So, the oil is not wasted.  My friend said that her squash done this way tasted like it just came out of the garden.  Ours had a slight vinegary taste to it.  It was not bad and still very useable.  I might try letting it drain a short time before putting the squash in the jar, or maybe even patting it with a towel.  I liked this because it was a real time saver and the squash was not mushy at all.  

Here is one of the HUGE zucchinis we got from our CSA basket. That is a quart jar sitting there to show you the size. It is a Costata Romanesco Zucchini. They are fast growing and get huge. Even though it is big, it is still tender and very meaty inside.  They are an heirloom variety.  The taste is superb!!

I cut it in 2 to show you the inside. I was amazed at how nice it was.
Here are some of my jars of squash when I was done.


One of the neat things about doing squash this way is that you could use any sort of jar that had a good lid. You would not have to use your canning jars for this.
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Preserving Squash — 8 Comments

  1. We grow so much squash because we love the blooms tempura mode. Also dehydrate the rest that we allow to grow to medium size fruits.
    Love what you share.

  2. Thank you, will try this! How long does it keep in your experience? I tried infusing oil with flowers this way and they fermented. I’ve been thinking of getting one of those food saver things that sucks out all the air. Do you ever use those?

  3. since you are not sealing the lids to the jars by traditional methods of home canning, how long is the shelf life?

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