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Preserve the taste of summer – home canning

 

MELINDA HOUSER

Guest Columnist

 

Home canning can be an exciting and rewarding experience. You see the results of your labor! Whether you have never canned before, or have been doing it for many years, you want to give your family and friends the tastiest and healthiest foods possible.

Home canning began in the early 1800s and many food safety practice changes have occurred using research-based guidelines. There are two safe ways of canning, depending on the type of food being canned. These are the boiling water canner method and the pressure canner method. The boiling water bath method is safe for fruits, tomatoes and pickles, as well as jam, jellies and other preserves. Pressure canning is the only safe method of canning vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood.

Food safety is critical to successful home canning.

Important do’s of home canning 

Have your dial-gauge pressure canner tested each year by contacting your local Extension office. If the gauge is inaccurate, the food may be under-processed and so the product may be unsafe to eat.

Always follow a research-based recipe exactly as instructed.

Use only jars designed for canning. Do not use non-canning jars such as mayonnaise or pickle jars. These jars can explode, especially if used in a pressure canner, and it might be more difficult to obtain a good seal.

Always use at least 5 percent acetic vinegar when pickling so that low acid vegetables such as cucumbers are properly acidified.

Always use a pressure canner to can low acid foods.

 

NC Cooperative Extension in Lincolnton is offering a variety of canning classes:

 

Basics/Strawberry Jam:  Thursday, June 6 – 3 p.m.

Pickles/Relish:  Tuesday, June 25 – 4 p.m.

Salsa:  Wednesday, July 10 – 6 p.m.

Each class is a hands-on experience and you will have a jar of food to take home. All classes are $10 each and will be held in the demonstration kitchen of the James Warren Citizens Center, 115 West Main Street, Lincolnton. Please register in advance of the class by calling 704-736-8461.

Melinda Houser is a Family and Consumer Sciences agent with NC Cooperative Extension.

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