Freeze-drying was invented in 1906 in Paris, France. Since then, it has been used in a variety of ways from preserving blood serum during World War II to preserving food, pharmaceuticals, and more.
Today, the global freeze-dried food market is growing at 7.4% per year. Fruit makes up 32% of the market share. North America produces the most freeze-dried foods.
The technical term for freeze-drying is lyophilization. A solvent (water) and/or a suspension medium is crystallized at a low temperature and removed by sublimation. This means the water moves from a solid state to a gaseous state without melting. The food freezes quickly and at low temperatures. Pressure is applied with some heat. This removes about 95% of the moisture. Another drying phase removes excess unfrozen water molecules. The entire process can take a couple days.
Freeze-drying produces high quality foods. But the method and equipment are expensive. The energy required is almost double that required in conventional drying. The equipment is four to eight times higher than conventional drying equipment.
This year, jars for canning are going retro again! Ball® jars are now available in the amber color. They are in wide mouth pint, wide mouth quart, and wide mouth half-gallon sizes. The first amber colored jars date back to the late 1800s. The color was made because emissions from the coal furnace permeated the glass pots causing clear glass to become amber in color.
Lots of accessories are available to transform jars into many non-canning uses. There are also accessories for adding decoration or for transforming jars into beverage containers and special lighting. Replacement parts for Ball® appliances are also available.
As canning season winds down, now is a good time for Extension offices to get their Presto Pressure Gauge tester serviced.
This service is done at no cost to you by National Presto Industries as the purchase cost of the tester includes maintenance. They will examine the master gauge and the entire unit for updates of other parts. For questions, contact:
Corporate Home Economist
National Presto Industries
If you use well water, annual testing for water safety is important. If your report shows high levels of nitrate and/or nitrite, steps must be made to make the water safe.
In home canning or in cooking, boiling the water will not remove nitrate or nitrite. In fact, heat will concentrate and increase the content. The Environmental Protection Agency states the maximum total nitrate and nitrite level is 10 parts per million.
Treat well water with anion exchange, distillation, electrodialysis or reverse osmosis processes. Contact a water treatment professional to select the right treatment for your well water.
Hunting season has begun! Wild game provides wholesome, nourishing food, but food safety is key for preserving the meat.
To retain the quality of the meat, it is important to handle and preserve the meat safely and efficiently. The most popular methods to preserve the meat are freezing, dehydrating, or canning.
Pressure canning is the only method to can meat. Be sure you canner is in good working order and remember to adjust the processing pressure for you altitude of residence.
Dehydrating meat into jerky makes a quick snack that is easy to store and is portable. The ideal dehydrating temperature is 140°F. But the meat must be heated, either before or after dehydrating, to 160°F.
There are several reasons. First, the beans may be too mature which makes them too starchy. The starch settles out of the food during canning. Second, minerals in hard water can give a cloudy appearance. Third, using table salt instead of canning salt. Table salt contains anti-caking agents that can cause cloudiness. With any of these three causes, it is a quality issue. Finally, it could be spoilage due to improper heat processing. Do not consume them in this case.
This is an example of creating your own recipe can be a dangerous practice. While bacon and green beans are both low-acid foods, there are no processing recommendations for canning bacon. Therefore, can the beans by themselves. Then when ready to eat the beans, add the bacon just before serving.
Adding any fat or butter to home-canned products, unless specifically stated in the recipe may slow the rate of heat transfer during processing. This will result in an unsafe product. Additionally, the fat could seep in between the lid and jar rim and the lid will not seal properly.
Spices or herbs may be added in small amounts before processing.
In an ongoing effort to make home food preservation easy and to appeal to those who can foods in small quantities, Ball® now has six new mixes for pickles and tomato products.
They are a recipe card with six seasonings attached to the card. On the back are instructions with additional ingredients to add and processing instructions. Each recipe card makes two quarts or four pints.
The recipe cards include three types of pickles, two types of salsa, and a pasta sauce.
Recent low prices for eggs have enticed shoppers to stock up on eggs. One method to preserve them is by pickling.
There are no home canning directions for pickled eggs. Pickled egg recipes are for storage in the refrigerator. Pickled eggs should never be at room temperature except for serving time, when they should be limited to no more than 2 hours in the temperature danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees F.