Choose fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes that are at their peak ripeness. Over-ripe tomatoes are less acidic. The acidity level in tomatoes varies throughout the growing season. Tomatoes reach their highest acidity when they are still green and decrease in acidity until they reach their lowest acidity as they mature.
Canning is NOT a way to use damaged tomatoes or those from dead or frost-killed plant vines. These tomatoes may have a pH level greater than 4.6 and may have extra pathogens. The canning process time may not be enough to kill extra organisms. This could lead to a product that spoils and is unsafe to eat.
Do you have food preservation questions? Do you know someone who wants to start a food business? The place to call is K-State Research and Extension (KSRE)!
While the University of Georgia and the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) is a great resource, we at KSRE want to help Kansans. Dr. Elizabeth Andress, who runs the NCHFP, does not have the staff, nor does she know the regulations in Kansas required for food businesses.
Summer is still in full force, but fall and winter are on their way! Soup is a great way to warm up a chilly day.
Canning soup can be done with ingredients that already have separate canning recommendations. This includes a variety of vegetables, dried beans or peas, meat, poultry, or seafood based soups. These soups must be pressure canned.
Caution: Do not add noodles or other pasta, rice, flour, cream, milk or other thickening agents to home canned soups. If dried beans or peas are used, they must be fully rehydrated first.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.