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Dear Editor,

I have been particularly blessed with an abundance of squash from my garden, and instead of just giving it away, I’d like to can it. However, I’m seeing conflicting recommendations about whether you can put squash up in jars or not. Some sites say you can; some say you can’t. The government says you shouldn’t. Help!

Overrun

Dear Overrun,

To be honest? There hasn’t been a rash of people getting sick from canned squash. Basically what the USDA has said is, “We can’t find our documentation which tells us how long we should cook squash to rid it of the botulism.” In fact, here is their statement (and our disclaimer):

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squashes, including zucchini, that appeared in former editions of So Easy to Preserve or USDA bulletins have been withdrawn due to uncertainty about the determination of processing times.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.

That being said… I can squash. In fact, I’ve canned 220 quarts of squash this year. Prepare your jars and cube and raw pack the squash into the jars. Cover with boiling water, leaving a ½ inch of head space, and process 35 minutes for pints and 45 minutes for quarts. (I still have 25 jars left of squash canned two years ago, and the seal is still good and the squash is just fine.)

The Editor

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Dear Editor,

The trapping article gave us no book on trapping to buy. Please furnish a source.
Thanks,
B—

 

Dear B–,

I’ve seen some great books on trapping, but clearly the most interesting was one written in the 1800s that is still available called Camp Life In the Woods by William Hamilton Gibson. You can order it online at Amazon or you can go to Google Books (https://books.google.com) and download a free copy and print it out yourself. Another good one is The Trapper’s Bible by Dale Martin.

The Editor

 

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