Canning mock lemon pie filling made with zucchini.

If you think you’re tired of hearing about my zucchini, just imagine how tired I am of dealing with it. 🙂  But I press on!  Waste not, want not and all that.

I really did grow other things besides zucchini, and soon I will tell you about how I’m preserving those.  But for now…

I found this recipe for Zucchini “lemon” pie filling at the site for Self-Reliance Magazine: Basic Skills for Living Well.  Since I’m trying to use and preserve as much of my over-abundance of garden zucchini as possible, I decided to give it a try.


12-15 lbs. giant zucchinis, peeled and grated
58 oz. bottled lemon juice
lemon peel, grated, from 2 lemons
6 cups sugar

Directions: Mix all ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Fill sterilized jars with mixture, topping with remaining juice to leave ½ inch headspace. Process in boiling water bath, for 25 minutes.
To use filling for lemon meringue pie: Mix ½ cup sugar with 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch. Stir into “lemon” filling. Heat, just till thickened. Pour into baked pie crust, top with meringue and bake (400 degrees, 8-10 minutes) till meringue is slightly browned.

A few tips from me: I used the shredder side of the grater to make finer bits of zucchini.  I also used a lemon zester for the lemon peel.



After you cook it for twenty minutes, it looks a lot like lemon curd,  We don’t eat lemon meringue pie all that often, but I will easily use these up making lemon bars.  I have school-aged children, which means I often need to provide baked goods for some event or other in which they’re involved.  I had thirteen pounds of zucchini, which yielded six quarts of “lemon” pie filling.


I also made some zucchini bread to freeze today, leaving one loaf out for us to eat.  I usually use my mother’s recipe, which is moist and not too sweet, but I didn’t have applesauce, which the recipe calls for.  Instead, I tried Mom’s Zucchini Bread from All Recipes, and my husband preferred it.  I thought it was a bit too sweet but had a very nice texture and cinnamon-y taste.  Zucchini bread freezes well.



I really think I am going to cut down the zucchini vines after tomorrow, though, and toss them on the compost pile.  Enough is enough already! 🙂

Sunday afternoon I’m planning to make rose hip jam, and if it goes well, I’ll share the details with you.

Preserving the harvest: making and canning mock “apple” pie filling using your overgrown zucchini.


Psst…hey you, you wanna buy a zucchini?  I can get you a great deal on half a ton! 😉

My zucchini vines overfloweth…image

Now I like zucchini and will happily eat it sauteed with garlic, onions, and tomatoes every night.  Unfortunately, no one else in this house cares for zucchini…or at least they think they don’t care for it.  What the younger people here do not know, and what the older ones only learned after admitting they liked what they were eating, is that they actually love zucchini desserts.  A devious mama who wants her little ones to eat zucchini simply makes mock apple pie, mock apple crumble, mock apple strudel, or zucchini chocolate cake and stays mum about the switcheroo.

I found a recipe for canned zucchini pie filling and decided it was perfect for dealing with a half dozen monster-sized overgrown zucchini.  Example:
I made some minor adjustments to the recipe, most importantly by increasing the processing time and pressure.  Here is what I did…


24 c of peeled, seeded, and sliced zucchini
2 c lemon juice
3 c white sugar
1 1/2 c brown sugar, firmly packed
4 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp caradom
3/4 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp ginger
1 Tbsp vanilla


  • Wash and peel zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and then cut into slices about 1/4 inch thick; try to make them look like apple slices.


Here is a tip my mother taught me for when you are measuring many cups of something into a pot or bowl.  Start by making a little dish of “markers”; I put 24 slices of zucchini into this dish and then each time I dumped a cup into the stock pot, I added one “marker” slice.  That way when I ran out of slices, I knew I had put in the right number of cups.  This is helpful if you are constantly being interrupted by children wanting lunch, puppies needing to go outside, or teenagers asking if you will drive them out to Clear Lake, and you lose mental count of how many cups you’ve added.


  • Place zucchini into a stock pot, add the lemon juice and bring to a boil, then simmer 15 – 20 minutes until a greenish color but not quite transparent.
  • Mix together remaining dry ingredients in a bowl while the zucchini is cooking:
  • Add dry ingredients and vanilla to cooked zucchini; cook for about 5-7 minutes until it thickens somewhat.
  • Ladle into hot quart-size canning jars and then wipe off jars and rims.  Put on lids and rings.
  • Process in a pressure canner at 6 pounds of pressure for 10 minutes.


  • Use as you would homemade apple pie filling.
The woman who originally posted the recipe didn’t mention how much it would yield, but I got 5 quarts out of it.  A quart contains four cups, which is enough filling to make a 9-inch pie, so this will make five pies for us next winter.
This is the first time I’ve made this particular recipe, so I tasted some of the filling before I canned it, and I’m telling you, it tastes almost exactly like apples.  Don’t tell anyone it’s zucchini and they’ll never know!  It’s less goopy than store-bought filling, so I might thicken it with a tablespoon of flour sprinkled over it when I dump it into the pie crust.
Check out the Self-Reliance Blog for more recipes making mock fruit fillings from zucchini:
I think I’m going to try her mock lemon pie filling next, after I have my eldest daughter make a chocolate zucchini cake to bring out to the lake with her friends tomorrow.  Naturally I will tell her to refer to it simply as a chocolate cake…