Canning Safety First!
Before you reach for your recipe box to pull out a spiced green beans recipe card in your grandmother’s handwriting — stop!
Times have changed. Grandma’s cookie recipe can still be your ultimate comfort food, but canning techniques are different in the 21st century. For instance, processing times and temperatures for pressure-canning vegetables have been revised.
Botulism, salmonella, and E. coli are the dangers that dance at the edge of food preserving, whether the cook is you or a company. The USDA and land-grant universities do research on safety in home canning and there are up-to-date guidelines for you.
The University of California has a series of free, downloadable articles about safe canning. Start with Safe Methods of Canning Vegetables, and see their other articles about preserving tomatoes, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, garlic, nuts, olives, peppers, and strawberries.
Five Steps to Safe Canning
1. Make sure you have all the supplies you need, and enough time to complete the canning project. Start small if you’re a beginner.
2. Clean your kitchen thoroughly before you bring in the produce you’re going to preserve.
3. Always follow the canning recipe to the letter. Do not leave out or substitute any ingredients.
4. Check your jars of preserves before you open them. If the contents are discolored, don’t taste—do call a food safety hotline for advice.
5. Be scrupulous about how you dispose of any spoiled food.
* In our video, Tricia is holding a book that 100,000 other cooks have too—the third edition of The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home.
This popular book gives advice on preparing your life and kitchen for the summer canning onslaught, then discusses water-bath canning, freezing, drying, brining, and root cellaring. The upbeat text is illustrated with line drawings.
* How to Store Your Garden Produce: The key to self-sufficiency is a well-organized volume by an organic gardener in England.
Starting with a brief overview of preserving techniques, the second section of the book goes through fruits and vegetables alphabetically, recommends certain varieties, and shows you many preserving options for that crop. Simple and to the point, the book has been such a hit we now have the revised and enlarged edition.
* Try a different kind of canning book… this one is organized by what’s in season. It offers detailed instructions and recipes with great illustrations and photographs. Canning for a New Generation is well worth picking up.
We Are Your Canning Headquarters!
We’ve got a carefully selected array of canning supplies for you, a video showing you how to do water-bath canning of apple sauce, and we’ve read the food preservation books to pick out our favorites to share.
Ready to go? We hope you enjoy putting up your organic harvest!