Canning summer squash

I was given a basket full of crookneck squash and most is large and dark yellow. Can I can this crookneck squash that has gotten overripe? I have pondered on the fact that it will most likely become mushy, but maybe I could use it later in casseroles? If so how do I need to do it?


Yes, you can home can overripe summer squash although it isn’t as nice as immature squash. Peel your squash, cut it into 1-inch chunks, removing the seeds. Pack the chunks raw into jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Add 1/2 tsp salt to pints and 1 tsp to quarts, if desired. Process pints for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure and quarts for 30 minutes. I often add spices such as onion, garlic, dried crushed medium hot peppers, etc. to this mix to give it added flavor. The spices do not affect processing time or pressure. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, check out the directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude. These canned squash chunks are a good addition to casseroles and other mixed dishes. — Jackie

Using mashed zucchini

I recently read where someone peeled and seeded big zucchini, cooked it down and mashed it, then used it to cook with, like applesauce, replacing the oil in cooking. Have you done anything like this? I have several yellow and green squash and am going to do it today. Going to put it through a food mill to make it smooth after cooking. I’m thinking of making “apple” butter with it.

Margie Buchwalter
Bowersville, Ohio

No, I haven’t done that to replace oil in cooking. Nor have I made apple butter with cooked pureed squash. Let us know how it goes. — Jackie

Dehydrating celery

I am 3 hours into dehydrating my first batch of celery and I forgot to blanch them. Do I need to throw out this batch and start over? And how will I know when it is done?

Robin Putman
Coolville, Ohio

No, you don’t have to throw it out; I never blanch my celery and it turns out great every time. You want it dry — crispy dry. If you blanch your celery, it’s supposed to be better but mine’s always great and I love skipping work when I can! — Jackie


  1. Jackie, in your directions for canning squash you say to add salt optionally, but you don’t mention adding water – is it not necessary?

    I like the idea of squash butter, Margie! Are there directions for that in another blog?

    Jackie, thanks for all your good advice and information – I read your blogs and ‘Ask Jackie’ voraciously! I’ve still gotta get your “Growing and Canning…” book…

  2. Margie,

    Thanks for the follow-up. Now we have yet another thing to do with all those over-sized squash!


  3. The squash butter turned out really good. Didn’t care a lot for it when it was “fresh” but after it set for a few days it is wonderful.

  4. Bethany,

    Yes, you can safely dehydrate ground beef. It’s no more dangerous than dehydrating jerky. The marinade and spices do nothing to add to safety. Just be sure your meat is very dry or it could go moldy or rancid at room temperature. If it is not very hard/dry, refrigerate for long-term storage then use within a week or two.


  5. Jackie, I’ve been looking into making backpacking meals and just-add-water meals in a jar, and I’ve run across many recipes for dehydrating ground beef. The common method seems to be to fully cook lean ground beef, use boiling water to rinse away all fat, and then dehydrate til very hard. Do you think this is safe? Would bacteria grow during the dehydrating? Does the finished product need to be frozen or is it shelf stable? Thanks for any info you have on this. I told my husband, “I’ll just ask Jackie, she’d never steer us wrong.” You’re someone i admire greatly and i know i can trust your opinion. Thanks!

  6. I never blanch my celery, either, brfore dehydrating, and it turns out fine.

    If you’re watching your salt intake, you might grind the dehydrated celery in a coffer/spice grinder, and use the powder in place of salt. It’s especially good sprinkled on corn-on-the-cob or scrambled eggs – adds another element to the taste.

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