Interest in home food preservation has increased due to the popularity of local foods and gardening. With more people preserving food, there is concern about whether the resulting food products are safe to eat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the most common cause of foodborne botulism in the United States is from home-canned vegetables because proper procedures were not followed. It is important to keep food safety in mind every step of the way when preserving foods at home.
- Follow food safety guidelines when preparing the recipe.
- Always use up-to-date tested recipes and directions from a reliable source because knowledge and recommendations change over time with scientific developments. Ignoring recommended procedures can result in home canned products that will make you and your family very ill.
- Use the appropriate canning method. The acidity of the canned food product determines whether or not it should be processed in a hot water bath canner or in a pressure canner.
- Have the dial gauge on your pressure canner checked each season. Weighted gauges remain accurate and do not need to be tested. Contact your local extension office for information on how to get your dial-gauge pressure
- canner tested.
ISU Extension and Outreach offers the Preserve the Taste of Summer (PTTS) program that provides a thorough review of research-based, safe home food preservation practices, includes eight online lessons as well as four hands-on workshops (requires completion of online lessons), and is available statewide. The cost ranges from $25 to $100 depending on the level you choose.
Participant evaluations show that the program increases knowledge of safe home food preservation practices and is well received by those who have participated. One participant said, “I would never have attempted home canning before the online lessons. Now I know how to do it correctly and will attempt home canning.” Another stated, “I plan to make homemade jams and can tomatoes. I wouldn’t feel confident in trying these out before taking this workshop. Great opportunity!”
To register for PTTS, visit www.ucs.iastate.edu/mnet/preservation/home.html.