Pickling Spices & the Nutrition of Yellow Squash

We like yellow, crook neck squash and grow it every summer. This year, even though I have pulled up four plants due to squash vine borers, we have an over abundance of squash. That’s a good thing, until people close their doors and turn off their lights when they see you coming with yet another bag of squash to give away.

We have canned 31 pints of squash in water, along with 28 pints of squash relish. That will be more than enough for us until next summer. You can find our canning techniques for squash here and the recipe for the squash relish here. There are three differences in making squash relish this year. One, is that I used some of the peppers I dehydrated last summer, instead of fresh. I rehydrated them, then ran them through the grater with the squash and onions. Two, we put the relish in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, like we do other pickled items, which we did not do last year.

The other small difference is that I mixed up my own pickling spices. Not a very significant thing, but I got a big kick out of it. Simple, huh? Last year I found a recipe online, then ordered the individual spices in bulk from Monterey Bay Spice Company. Now, I can mix my own according to our tastes. Some of these items I will be able to grow and use my own, but things like cinnamon, cloves and allspice, I will not. Here is the recipe.

Pickling Spices
4 cinnamon sticks, well crumbled
1 – 1″ piece dried gingerroot, well crumbled, or 1 tbsp. dried root pieces
2 tbsp. mustard seed

2 tsp. whole allspice berries
2 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 tsp. dill seeds
2 tsp. coriander seeds
8 bay leaves, crumbled medium
1 small dried hot pepper, chopped or crumbled fine, seeds and all
Isn’t it pretty? I think so.

The nutritional content of squash surprised me. I figured it would be higher in starches, carbohydrates and calories. Of course, the way it is prepared, such as fried, will impact the caloric content, but overall, squash is a very nutritious vegetable. Here is the rundown. In one cup of raw yellow summer or zucchini squash you will find:

  • Vitamins A, C, K
  • Folate
  • Choline
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids
  • 2 g protein
  • 4 g carbohydrates with include 2 g from sugars
  • 20 calories

Most areas of the country can grow squash in some form or fashion. Unless you are overrun with squash bugs and vine borers, it can be quite prolific, as well, yielding many pounds of produce from one single plant. There are also many different kinds of winter squashes, that keep well without canning. We will be growing some Cushaw squash for our winter keepers and I will report on their nutritional value as well.

I am learning a lot from researching the nutritional values of the things we grow in the garden. It will help us to evaluate what we grow and determine what nutrients are missing and how we can include them. Let’s face it, if brussell sprouts will provide something that is missing from your food intake, but they make you gag, it doesn’t really matter, does it? Finding and growing food that will help sustain us in a healthy manner, is a great learning process. Remember, life is a journey. It is the journey we learn from, or not, the choice is ours.

Until next time – Fern

10 thoughts on “Pickling Spices & the Nutrition of Yellow Squash

  1. thanks – have checked it out and I like it. Water from cooking veggies I either save for soup, sauteing veggies (I try hard to keep sat fat low) or to water potted plants.

  2. So I can look up info on my own – what source do you use for nutritional values?And, remember that cooked squash nutritional values are different than raw – cooking concentrates the vegetable.

  3. That's a good idea, Marilyn, but we don't have any Amish stores in this area that I know of. I like the quality Monterey Bay provides, but hopefully before long, I will be able to use a lot of my own spices. Thanks for sharing this idea, it may help some of the other readers.Fern

  4. You sound like me, Fiona. I planted way too much squash. Canning them makes them very soft, but the flavor is good and there are just about endless possibilities in using them. It didn't take us long to can all we need, though. Now we are giving it away as fast as we can. I will probably pull some of the plants and start a fall crop in that patch before long. Happy canning!Fern

  5. Fern, if you have an Amish store nearby you may find they have all kind of spices and at very good prices. There is one in Branson which is less than an hour from us and well worth our trip. Their selection is wonderful. Their prices allow me to buy more spices and then I can put together other seasonings from them as well. Just a thought. Thanks again for all the wonderful information you share with us. Marilyn in SWMo

  6. Perfect timing for this post…we over did the planting of summer squash….they are just starting to get buds but its going to be nasty in a very productive way! I had never thought of simply canning them. Thank you Fern!

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