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.
The following tips will help create successful jams and jellies from frozen fruit or juice:
The best frozen fruits for jams or jellies are blueberries, red and black currants, gooseberries and rhubarb.
Before freezing fruit, measure the fruit and label the container. Many fruits collapse as they thaw and may create an inaccurate measure.
Jams and jellies from frozen fruit and juice are better if no sugar is added before freezing.
When freezing fruit for jelly or jams, use 1/4 under-ripe and 3/4 ripe fruit.
Thaw frozen fruit in the refrigerator until only a few ice crystals remain. Follow directions for the type of jam you are making and follow the recommended proportions of fruit (measured before freezing), pectin and sugar.
When making jelly from frozen juice, thaw frozen juice in the refrigerator overnight. Measure juice and use it immediately in recommended proportions with sugar and pectin.
When it comes to canning, foods are divided into two categories. Low acid foods have a pH 4.6 or above and high acid foods have a pH of 4.6 or below. In general, fruits fall into the high acid category. But, there are some exceptions.
Melons, including watermelon, honey dew and cantaloupe, are examples of low acid fruits. They have an average pH of 6.2. So, to can them, significant amounts of acid and sugar must be included to safely can them in a boiling water bath canner. In March of 2011, there was an outbreak of botulism linked to watermelon jelly sold in Canada.
So, it is important to choose recipes from trusted resources in all canning, and especially with low acid foods. A good recipe for Watermelon Jelly can be found in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving or at www.bernardin.ca/recipes/zesty-watermelon-jelly.htm?Lang=EN-US. Bernardin is the Canadian brand of Ball canning products.
Remember, while tomatoes are classified as a vegetable, they are botanically a fruit. Acid, either lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid, must be added to tomatoes for safe canning. Details can be found at www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/MF1185.PDF.
The University of Georgia has a new children’s guide to canning, freezing, drying, pickling and preparing snacks with preserved foods.
The book teaches the basics of preserving with boiling water canning, freezing, refrigerating, quick pickling and drying. Step-by-step methods are illustrated and several child-friendly recipes are provided for using each of the preserved foods. Activities are intended to be carried out with adult supervision. Preserved foods include canned applesauce, canned strawberry jam, refrigerator or canned pickles, frozen berries, and dried fruit, tomato slices and applesauce rolled leather. The book is available for sale at the UGA Extension Publication Store.