Food Preservation

chillies-chili-peppers-garlic-parsleyHome-canned spaghetti sauce full of the flavor of garden-fresh tomatoes or strawberry jam bursting with fruit at the peak of ripeness can bring a touch of summer to winter. With the proper equipment and up-do-date recipes, these foods and other family favorites can be safely canned at home.

“Preserving food from your garden or orchard can be a good way to combat the rising prices of food at the grocery,” says Barbara Ingham, University of Wisconsin-Extension food scientist. “But be sure to follow research-tested recipes for safe, high quality food that your family will enjoy.”

Recipes that are not precise, that call for “a pinch” of this ingredient or “a pinch” of that ingredient; recipes that are not tested in a laboratory; or recipes that contain outdated or inaccurate canning information, can result in products that may be unsafe to consume. Ingham offers three general guidelines for safe food preservation:

  • Inspect and repair any food preservation equipment at the beginning of the season. Now is a good time to inspect canners or food dehydrators to make sure all equipment is in working condition. And start now to collect approved canning jars and lids for use during the season. Canning jars that use two-piece, self-sealing metal lids are recommended for home canning. Jars should be free of nicks or scratches. A “must” every canning season is new flat lids. Metal screw bands that are not bent or rusted can be reused.
  • Have dial-gauge pressure canners tested for accuracy. A pressure canner is essential for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. Pressure canners come with either a dial-gauge or a weighted-gauge. Dial-gauge pressure canners should be tested each year for accuracy. Lincoln County UW-Extension offices offer free dial-gauge testing; call ahead at 715-539-1072 for availability of this service.
  • Always follow an up-to-date tested recipe from a reliable source. This is perhaps the most important step in preparing for home food preservation, according to Ingham. Cookbooks and old family recipes are not reliable sources of research-tested recipes. This binder holds a store of resources for safe home preservation.

“More tomatoes are home-canned than any other product. And home-canned tomatoes can be so delicious. But many people are still unaware that tomato-canning recommendations changed dramatically way back in 1994,” says Ingham. “I answer questions every year from consumers who are not aware that you must add acid to home-canned tomato products to ensure safety. This is just one example where even though it’s tempting to return time and again to a family-favorite recipe, it’s important to update your canning recipes as guidelines change.“

“Food safety is, and should be, a primary concern when preserving food at home, from freezing peas to drying of apples. The extension service sets itself apart in providing research-based information,” said Amanda Kostman, Lincoln County.

USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning – We provided the Table of Contents so you may get an idea of the resources in this publication.  Because of the size we did not print the entire publication.  Our office is happy to assist you in viewing the sections and individual guides individually online and print sections or the entire book at our standard public printing cost. http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

The following publications available for free online, printed for a fee and ordered online:

Food Safety for Community Suppers

 

Using and Caring for a Pressure Canner
Harvesting Vegetables from the Home Garden
Making Your Own Sauerkraut
Homemade Pickles & Relishes
Canning Vegetables Safely
Canning Salsa Safely
Tomatoes: Tart and Tasty
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Canning Fruit Safely
Making Jams, Jellies & Fruit Preservation
Canning Meat, Wild Game, Poultry & Fish Safely
Guides for Making Safe Jerky at Home
Wisconsin’s Wild Game: Enjoying the Harvest

 

Pantry Food Safety
Freezer Storage
Refrigerator Storage
Food Preservation – Equipment and Supplies
Using and Caring for a Pressure Canner
Safe Canning Methods
5 Tips for a Successful Home Canning Season
Harvesting Vegetables from the Home Garden
Making Your Own Sauerkraut
Homemade Pickles & Relishes
Canning Vegetables Safely
Canning Salsa Safely
Tomatoes: Tart and Tasty
Add Acid to Tomatoes When Canning:  Here’s Why!
Freezing Fruits and Vegetables
Canning Fruit Safely
Making Jams, Jellies & Fruit Preservation
Yields for Canned or Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Canning Meat, Wild Game, Poultry & Fish Safely
Guides for Making Safe Jerky at Home
Freezing Animal Products
Wisconsin’s Wild Game: Enjoying the Harvest
Judging Home Preserved Foods

 

In addition to the recommended web resources listed, the following are recommended resources:

Food Preservation Publications:

Websites and Resources: