Canning projects for 4-H fairs

It is just about time to think about exhibits for 4-H fair. Canning jams or jellies are popular subjects for 4-H projects and make fun exhibits at the County Fair. Members often enjoy picking berries for jams or jelly and spending time with family as they harvest. Sometimes grandma comes over to help with the exhibit.

Preserved foods make a great fair exhibit but it is important to follow the fair rules. Remember the following tips for best results at the fair:

  1. ALWAYS use a safe, tested recipe from a reliable source. Extension Publications, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, current Ball Blue Books, the USDA Canning Guide, and in the case of Jams and Jellies, the pectin package inserts.
  2. Follow the directions precisely and do not make any changes in any preserved food recipe.
  3. Check on the Foods for Iowa 4-H Fairs-Quick Reference Guide to be sure the product you want to bring is appropriate.
  4. Remember to adjust the time or pressure for the altitude of your home or county. Most of Iowa is above 1000’ and will require adjustment of time in boiling water bath canners or pressure if you are using a weighted gauge pressure canner.
  5. Dial gauge canner gauges must tested yearly. AnswerLine can direct you to a county office that is testing gauges.
  6. Always use the preserved food label for a 4-H preserved food exhibit.  Get this at your local county Extension and Outreach office.
  7. Bring two jars of your product to the County and State Fair. If you are down to the last jar, it is ok to bring only one to the State Fair.
  8. Clean the outside of your jar and be sure that the ring on the jar is also clean.

The AnswerLine staff is always happy to advise you if you have questions or problems with your home canning projects. Happy canning.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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