Canning all sorts of vegetables including zucchini is one of the most effective ways to preserve your food for a quick meal. In fact, canning has been done for many years plus it is one of the easiest ways to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh. You may think that you need to have a pressure cooker or canner for canning zucchini but that is not always necessary. Making use of a pressure cooker or pressure canner works well for canning all sorts of fruits and vegetables but you can also make use of other methods such as a hot bath method or the direct flame sterilisation to can zucchini.
The Boiling Water Bath Method
One effective way of canning zucchini as well as other fruits and vegetables without a pressure cooker is through the water bath method. The hot water bath method can be used to can fruits, tomatoes, pickles as well as jams and other foods too. With the hot water bath method, jars of food are heated by being immersed with boiling water at a very high temperature of about 212 °F. Vegetables with a pH of 4.6 or less have enough acid to prevent the botulinum spores from growing and producing toxins. Such foods include fruits and properly pickled vegetables. Such types of food can be canned in hot temperatures in a boiling water bath. Tomatoes as well as zucchini that have a pH close to 4.6 will need lemon juice added.
The Tools Required To Can Corn
- Jars (pint/quart)
- Lids/seals and rings
- A Large pot
- A large salad bowl or small bowls for holding corn
- Sharp knife
- Jar lifting tongs
- A funnel (optional)
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Clean towels and a dishcloth
Sterilize Your Tools
The first thing you need to do before you can your zucchini is to make sure that your tools are clean. The first task would be to clean and sterilize your tools. Ensure that the jars and lids you plan on using are properly sterilized and free of chips and cracks. You can make use of old jars and canning rings, but metal canning lids must be brand new. New metal canning rings make sure that your canned zucchini seal properly. Another option would be to make use of reusable glass canning lids. Be careful not to reuse metal lids because they will not seal properly.
Prepare Your Zucchini
After preparing your tools the next step would be to prepare your zucchini. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and as it heats up wash your zucchini, scrubbing it with a vegetable brush to get it clean. Cut the ends off and peel your zucchini if you prefer it that way. You also cut the zucchini into whatever shape or size you desire. It is best to cut them into thick rounds about half an inch thick, or into medium sized cubes. You can also spiralize or shred your zucchini depending on how you plan to use them later on just make sure that you do not mash them. Tests have shown that there are density issues with mashed zucchini that can prevent adequate heat distribution.
Prepare The Brine
When your zucchini is ready the next thing to do is to bring sugar, vinegar, celery, turmeric, mustard, and other ingredients you may want to add to a boil in a saucepan. Add your zucchini as well as sliced onions into the mix. Remove the pot or saucepan from the stove and let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours or so.
Pack The Zucchini
When the brine is ready pack your zucchini together with the onions into hot sterilized jars. Fill the jars and leave a quarter inch space on top and also add some pickling liquid. Do not forget to remove any air bubbles from your jars. You can do this by making use of non-metal spatula or a plastic knife inside of the jars. Sometimes you can see some air bubbles and other times they are difficult to see but make sure that you remove any air bubbles by slowly pressing your zucchini to create a path for them to be removed. Afterwards wipe the rims of your jars with a moist paper towel in order to remove any food residue. When you are done simply put the lid and screw on the canning ring to seal them.
Immerse The Jars Into A Hot Water Bath
The following step will be to place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill it halfway with some water. Bring the water to a boil and lower the jars into the boiling water using a holder. Leave a 2-inch space between your jars so that they do not rattle. Do not hesitate to add some more water if it is necessary to bring the water level to at least 1 inch above the top of the jars. Bring the water to a boil, and cover the pot, and let the jars sit for 10 minutes or so. The processing time may take a little longer depending on your elevation above sea level because of the change in atmospheric pressure.
Store Your Canned Zucchini
When the hot water bathing process is complete simply remove the jars from the stockpot and place them on a cloth-covered surface or a wood surface, several inches apart, and leave them to cool. Once they become cool, check to see if the lid is sealed by pressing the top of each lid with a finger to ensure that the seal is tight. Your canned zucchini should store in a cool, dark place.
Direct Flame Sterilization Method
Another effective way to can zucchini without a pressure cooker is using the direct flame sterilization. The method of direct flame sterilization canning is almost the same as the hot water bath method. The only difference is that with the sterilization process. You will need to sterilize your jars while putting them under the direct flame when using the direct flame sterilisation method. The most crucial thing is to keep rotating the jars to provide them with the same temperature. After sterilization, the process of preparing your zucchini and immersing in a hot water bath remains the same.