Canning Zucchini Is As Easy As Making Pickles (And Just As Versatile)

The benefits of canning your own food range from developing a healthier palate to protecting the planet. The economical habit extends the shelf life of fruits and vegetables that can rot within a few days or weeks — it also allows you to create quick, easy meals using pre-seasoned items.

A surprisingly versatile fruit, canning pickled zucchini gives you the freedom to explore all the ways you can use them in your meals. From creating summery zucchini hummus or upgrading your sandwiches and burgers, pickling and canning the squash allows you to cook with it well beyond its season. High in fiber and antioxidants, zucchini are in season from May to August. And although they're available all year round, consuming and preserving the fruit when they're in season helps to support local farmers and hold onto the benefits and fresh taste of the zucchini.

To be extra clear, we are referring only to canning pickled zucchini, which currently the only safe home-canning method approved by the USDA. Putting the chopped squash in a vinegar brine increases its longevity and also makes it much more delicious. After chopping and boiling the zucchini for a few minutes, you can season them, pickle them, and can them in a jar, which allows them to stay for up to one year. 

How to can pickled zucchini

There are multiple ways to can fruits and vegetables, but the best bet for pickled zucchini is a simple water bath canning method. The first step is to sterilize the canning jars by placing them in the dishwasher or using hot water and soap. Once they're dry, put the open jars in the oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes while the lids boil in hot water. After washing your zucchini, chop them up into cubes or slices of equal size. Let them boil for about two minutes. 

With the zucchini boiled, the next step is to prepare your flavorful brine. You can add chili flakes and minced garlic or even lemon to create a customized flavor profile, but vinegar, sugar, and salt are the key elements for your pickling brine, which you'll bring to a boil on the stove. Place the zucchini into the fully dry jars and pour boiling the boiling brine over them. Leave some space at the top and try to avoid getting air bubbles stuck in the jar as they can ruin the final product. You can gently use a wooden chopstick or skewer to get rid of them and then put the lids on tight. With the covers securely over the jars, let them boil in a water bath for around 10 minutes. You can then store your pickled canned zucchini in the pantry — just be sure to refrigerate after opening.