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Tag: Food Preservation

Do Not Can White-Fleshed Peaches

There is evidence that some varieties of white-flesh peaches are higher in pH (i.e., lower in acid) than traditional yellow varieties. The natural pH of some white peaches can exceed 4.6, making them a low-acid food for canning purposes. At this time there is no low-acid pressure process available for white-flesh peaches nor a researched acidification procedure for safe boiling water canning. Freezing is the recommended method of preserving white-flesh peaches.

Source: Dr. Elizabeth Andress, University of Georgia Extension

 

Shopping Tips for Food Dehydrators

A food dehydrator is a small electrical appliance for drying foods indoors. It has an electric element for heat and a fan and vents for air circulation. Dehydrators are efficiently dry foods fast at 140ºF.

Costs vary depending on features. Some models are expandable and additional trays can be purchased later. Twelve square feet of drying space dries about a half-bushel of produce. The major disadvantage of  is its limited capacity.

Features to Look For

  • Double wall construction of metal or high grade plastic. Wood is not recommended, because it is a fire hazard and is difficult to clean.
  • Enclosed heating elements.
  • Counter top design.
  • An enclosed thermostat from 85ºF to 160ºF.
  • Fan or blower.
  • Four to 10 open mesh trays made of sturdy, lightweight plastic for easy washing.
  • UL seal of approval.
  • A one-year guarantee.
  • Convenient service.
  • A dial for regulating temperature.
  • A timer. Often the completed drying time may occur during the night and a timer could turn the dehydrator off and prevent scorching.

www.rrc.k-state.edu/preservation/drying.html

 

Is it Safe to Re-use Pickling Brine?

Once you heat, or even soak, your vegetables in your pickling solution, pH changes start to happen. (Heating makes the interaction happen faster.) The vegetables become more acidic, which is what we want to happen in pickling. However, the pickling solution then becomes less acidic. So if your recipe is a hot pack for canned pickles, and you have heated your vegetables in the pickling solution (“brine”), then you should not use leftover brine from filling jars for another round of the recipe. The expected ratio of acid to low-acid ingredients and ultimate pH adjustment in the next recipe will not be the same.

In some recipes, sliced raw cucumbers are soaked for hours in the pickling liquid (vinegar, sugar and/or salt, for example). Then the liquid is drained off the cucumber slices into a pan. The soaked raw slices are filled into jars while the liquid is then heated and poured over them. Even though this is a raw pack in terms of filling jars, this vinegar solution had its original pH (acidity) altered from that initial soaking before it was heated and poured into jars. It should not be used again for a canned pickle recipe since it is now of unknown acidity.

Learn more at https://preservingfoodathome.com/2018/06/26/that-leftover-pickling-brine/.

 

Preserving Onions

Preserving onions creates unique, flavorful condiments that can be added to a variety of dishes. Preserving onions can also enable you to have your favorite onion variety available to use throughout the entire year.

Drying onions is easy, but very pungent! No blanching is required before drying. Simply wash, peel and cut onions into 1/8– to 1/4-inch slices and dehydrate.

Freezing is just as easy. Wash, peel, dice, place on a cookie sheet in a single layer, freeze, then pack into freezer containers.

Learn more at https://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/summer/onions.html.

 

Reducing Salt in Pickles

Recipes for pickles with reduced sodium content are provided in Guide 6 of the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.

In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly with vinegar. Use only tested recipes formulated to produce the proper acidity. While these pickles may be prepared safely with reduced or no salt, their quality may be noticeably lower. Both texture and flavor may be slightly, but noticeably, different than expected. You may wish to make small quantities first to determine if you like them.

However, the salt used in making fermented sauerkraut and brined pickles not only provides characteristic flavor but also is vital to safety and texture. In fermented foods, salt favors the growth of desirable bacteria while inhibiting the growth of others. Caution: Do not attempt to make sauerkraut or fermented pickles by cutting back on the salt required.

https://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_06/prep_foods.html

 

Does Pectin Expire?

In a word, yes.

It is not a food safety issue. It is a quality issue. If pectin is past the expiration date on the package, the product made with this pectin will not gel or work as it should. This is true for both liquid and dry pectin.

Dry pectin is made from citrus peel. Liquid pectin is made from apples. They are not interchangeable in recipes. For best results, use the type of pectin listed in the recipe.

www.rrc.k-state.edu/preservation/jam-jelly.html

The ripeness of fruit will affect the gelling properties. Under-ripe or over-ripe can affect how a jam or jelly gels.

 

New Food Preservation Resources

The University of Georgia has added a couple new resources to the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.

Onions are a popular vegetable to grow in the garden. Preserving them for later use can be done several ways including freezing, drying, pressure canning or using in a relish. For more information, see http://nchfp.uga.edu/tips/summer/onions.html.

Do you enjoy the tangy taste of oranges? Try this easier and faster recipe for Orange Marmalade. Read through the recipe. Do you know the definition of “albedo?” It is the white pith or tissue just under the outer orange layer. The albedo contains natural pectin so this recipe does not require added pectin. When cooking the marmalade, use the “jellying point” technique to determine when the marmalade is sufficiently cooked. The recipe is located at http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_07/orange_marmalade.html.

Orange Marmalade to Brighten Your Day

Preserve Smart App

Colorado State University has developed a new food preservation app to help make canning a bit easier. The app is called “Preserve Smart” and is currently available for Apple iOS devices only. But it can be used on any computer.

This program is unique in that it starts by asking you to enter your elevation. The program will remember that elevation throughout the system. So it will highlight the processing instructions for your location in each recipe. Also, the program has freezing and dehydrating instructions. There are recipes for canning fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, pickles and fermentation.

The website address for this program is https://apps.chhs.colostate.edu/preservesmart/. Search the Apple app store for Preserve Smart to download it to your mobile Apple device.

 

How to make Cherry Raisins

Photo: Utah State University

Wash and pit pie cherries. Heat 2 cups of cherries and 1/2 cup of sugar until the liquid boils for 1 minute. (Cherry-sugar mixture will form own juice.) With a slotted spoon, transfer cherries to a dehydrator. Dry at 140-150°F until moisture decreases to 80% solids. Cherries will be firm and rubbery to the touch. For best results, base the drying on the final solids content of 80%. Freeze or vacuum package to avoid mold growth.

To calculate desired final cherry weight for 80% solids:

  1. Weigh a container for fresh and dried cherries on a scale. Note weight.
  2. Add fresh cherries to the container. Weigh. Subtract container weight.
  3. Calculate desired final weight. (Fresh cherry weight) times (.175) = desired weight of dried cherries.
  4. Add calculated desired final weight (#3 above) and weight of container (#1). When dried cherries reach this point, they are ready.

Source: Utah State University Extension https://bit.ly/2K746C3

 

Canning in Half-gallon Jars

Half-gallon sized canning jars are available, but they are not recommended for canning many foods. In fact, the only products recommended by the manufacturer to can include apple juice and grape juice ONLY in a boiling water bath canner.

There are no other research-tested processes for half-gallon jars. Boiling water processes for other foods for jars larger than those published with recipes (usually pints and/or quarts) cannot be extended by any formula to a larger jar.

Historical canning resources may reference the use of half-gallon jars. However, these are not currently accepted or endorsed by the USDA, Cooperative Extension, or U.S. canning jar manufacturers.

Sources: http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_canning.html#7 and www.freshpreserving.com/choosing-the-right-jars.html