From Asparagus to Zucchini: Vegetable Canning for Beginners

Welcome to the world of canning vegetables!

Preserving vegetables yourself gives you the freedom to adjust cooking methods, ingredients, and flavor to taste—as well as to guarantee a stash of your seasonal favorites throughout the year, impress friends and family, and even save some cash in the process.

Let’s start by looking at some of the vegetable canning basics.

preserves, canned vegetables. canning

Pressure Canning Vegetables

  • All vegetables except tomatoes, sauerkraut, and pickles are low enough in acid that they must always be processed in a pressure canner. Other methods are simply not safe.
  • Because it takes only one spoonful from one jar of poisoned food to cause serious illness or death, the canner may be the most important investment you make.

You can read more about how Pressure Canners Work here

Timetable for Pressure Canning Vegetables

Inches of Headroom
Minutes to Pre-cook
Minutes to Process a Pint
Minutes to Process a Quart
AsparagusRaw pack½-3040
Beans, fresh limaHot pack1Bring to a boil4050
Beans, snapRaw pack½
BeetsHot pack½153035
BroccoliHot pack133035
Brussels sprouts
Hot pack133035
CabbageHot pack134555
CarrotsRaw pack1-2530
CauliflowerHot pack133035
CeleryHot pack133035
Cream Style CornHot pack1Bring to a boil35 Pints only
Whole Kernel CornHot pack1Bring to a boil35Pints only
EggplantHot pack153040
MushroomsHot pack ½Boil 5 minutes45-
OkraHot pack½12540
ParsnipsHot pack133035
PeasRaw pack1-4040
PeasHot pack1Bring to a boil4040
PeppersHot pack1335Pints only
Whole PotatoesHot pack ½103540
Cubed PotatoesHot pack½23540
SoybeansHot pack1Bring to a boil5565
Spinach and other greensHot pack½Steam 10 minutes7090
Summer Squash (such as Zucchini)Hot pack½Bring to a boil3040
Sweet PotatoesDry pack120-306590
Sweet PotatoesHot pack1206590

Using Boiling Water Method to Process Vegetables

Even if you don’t have a pressure canner, you can make your own pickles and canned tomatoes by processing in boiling water. Use the same instructions as for pressure canning, using sanitized jars and lids, except in a boiling water bath with water that covers the lid by at least 2 inches. Follow the recommendations in the table below to guarantee safe and delicious tomato products!

Timetable for Boiling Water Processing Tomatoes

Headroom (in inches)
Pint Processing Time
Quart Processing Time
Tomato juiceHot pack½3540
Tomato juice and flesh
Hot pack½
Crushed tomatoesHot pack½3545
Tomato sauce
Hot pack½3540
Whole or halved tomatoes in juiceRaw or Hot pack½8585
Whole or halved tomatoes - no liquidRaw pack½8585


The following recipes include the most popular vegetable dishes for canning. Feel free to adjust spices and flavors (but not acidity or processing times) to taste. Enjoy your vegetable canning adventures!

preserves, canning tomatoes in mason jar, canning

Basic Canned Tomatoes


  • 8 quarts peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • Gently toss tomatoes with lemon juice and salt, then fill jars to 1/4-inch of tops.
  • Run a slim, non-metal tool down along the insides of jars to release any air bubbles.
  • Add additional paste, if necessary, to within 1/4-inch of tops.
  • Wipe tops and threads of jars with a damp clean cloth.
  • Put on lids and screw bands as manufacturer directs.
  • Process in a boiling water bath for 45 minutes.


  • Cook tomatoes over medium-low heat until completely broken down to make tomato sauce, then can as for Basic Canned Tomatoes.
  • Up to 25% of the contents of the sauce may contain herbs or other cooked vegetables, such as roasted peppers, sautéed minced onions, or garlic.
  • To make a tomato paste, cook tomatoes over medium-low heat until broken down and the volume is reduced by half. Strain through cheesecloth, then can as for Basic Canned Tomatoes.

Classic Dill Pickles


  • 25 pickling cucumbers, 2-3 inches long
  • 4 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoons celery or fennel seeds
  • 4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 cup pickling salt, dissolved in 8 cups water


  • Wash cucumbers thoroughly. Soak 24 hours in brine. Drain and pat dry.
  • Bring vinegar, sugar, and spices to a boil.
  • Add cucumbers and cook 5 minutes over medium heat.
  • Pack cucumbers and spices in hot, sterilized jars.
  • Cover with cooking liquid and seal. Wait a month before opening. Makes 8 cups.

canned dill pickles, preserves, canning. pressure canning

Dilly Beans


  • 4 pounds high quality whole green beans
  • 2 teaspoons crushed dried hot red pepper
  • 4 teaspoons dried dill seed
  • 7 cloves of peeled fresh garlic
  • 5 cups vinegar
  • 5 cups water
  • ½ cup picking salt


  • Wash beans thoroughly
  • Remove stems and tips, and cut them as uniformly as possible to allow them to stand upright in pint canning jars, coming to the shoulder of the jar.
  • Have jars clean and very hot, and lids and sealers ready in scalding water.
  • In each jar, place ½ tsp of dill seed, one garlic clove, and ¼ tsp of crushed hot red pepper.
  • Pack beans upright in jars, leaving one inch of headroom.
  • Heat the water, vinegar, and salt together. When the mixture boils, pour it over the beans, filling each jar to ½ inch from the top.
  • Run a knife down and around to remove trapped air, adjust lids, and process in a 185°F bath for ten minutes after the water in the canner returns to simmer.
  • Remove jars and complete seals if necessary.
  • Makes 7 pints.

Note: if you substitute ground cayenne pepper for the crushed hot red pepper, use only 1/8 tsp per jar (or prepare for a fiery treat!) Wait at least two weeks to allow the beans to develop their full flavor.

Peter’s Pickled Peppers


  • 3 pounds hot peppers (such as serrano, habanero, jalapeno, or a blend) cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 6 cups vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium onion, diced


  • Combine the hot peppers in a large pot. Add the vinegar, water, garlic, and onion.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Ladle cooked peppers into sterile jars and fill to the top with the remaining liquid, leaving ¼ inch headspace, and lid.
  • Process in a water bath for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Refrigerate jars after opening.

preserves, canned peppers, canning, bottled peppers

Watermelon Pickles

Choose thick sections of rind for this recipe.


  • 8 cups watermelon rind
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons whole cloves
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups water


  • Peel off the skin and trim off any remains of pink flesh.
  • Cut into one-inch cubes.
  • Dissolve salt in cold water and pour it over rind cubes to cover (add more water if needed).
  • Let stand 5 to 6 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  • Cover the rind cubes with fresh water and cook until barely tender, no more than ten minutes, erring on the side of crispness, then drain.
  • Combine sugar, vinegar, and water; add cloves tied in a cloth bag; bring mixture to boiling.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for five minutes.
  • Pour over rind cubes and let stand overnight.
  • In the morning, bring to boiling and cook until rind is translucent but not at all mushy, about ten minutes.
  • Remove spice bag and pack cubes in hot, sterilized pint jars.
  • Add boiling syrup, leaving ½ inch of headroom; adjust lids.
  • Process in a 185° F water bath for ten minutes.
  • Remove jars and complete seals if necessary.
  • Makes 4 pints.



  • 2 cups cauliflower chunks
  • 1 cup broccoli chunks
  • 2 zucchini, cut in sticks
  • 2 carrots, cut in sticks
  • 2 celery sticks, roughly sliced
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup pickling salt
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 hot peppers (such as banana peppers), chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds


  • In a large bowl, arrange vegetables in layers, sprinkling salt between each layer.
  • Add 6 cups of water.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic film and place a weight on top to prevent the vegetables from floating.
  • Keep the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
  • In the morning, drain and rinse under cold water for 2 minutes and drain again.
  • Combine 2 cups of water with vinegar and sugar.
  • Dissolve sugar over low heat.
  • Divide garlic, hot peppers, and mustard seeds among the jars.
  • Pack with vegetables.
  • Cover with sugared vinegar, leaving 1 ¼ inches headspace.
  • Seal and process 20 minutes in boiling water or 5 minutes in a pressure cooker.
  • Wait three weeks before tasting.
  • Makes 10 cups.
Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: