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using home food preservation methods and ladling jam into jars

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala.—Just because you didn’t pick up on your grandmother’s superior canning skills doesn’t mean that you can’t master this art form. Spend some time with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System food safety team this summer and learn how to save garden produce and fresh fruit to enjoy all year long.

Canning is Making a Comeback

Angela Treadaway, an Alabama Extension food safety and quality regional agent, said the economy and a desire to eat fresh, locally grown food has brought canning from the back burner to the front eye of the stove.

“Home food preservation has made a big comeback,” Treadaway said. “It is very rewarding to be able to go to your pantry and take out a can of homemade vegetable soup, a jam or jelly, salsa or pickles and be able to serve it to your family.”

Treadaway said canning is a science — and it is vitally important to follow safe, research-based procedures to preserve fresh fruits and vegetables. The biggest threat comes when canning low-acid foods, such as vegetables and meats. If vegetables are not preserved properly in a pressure canner, they can develop Clostridium botulinum microorganisms, which can be deadly.

Two Ways to Can

Depending on the type of food being canned, Treadaway said there are two safe ways to can. These include the boiling-water-bath method and the pressure-canner method.

The boiling-water-bath method is safe for fruits, tomatoes, pickles, jams, jellies and preserves. These are considered high-acid foods. Pressure canning is the only safe way to can low-acid foods. These foods include all vegetables, meats, poultry and seafood. Because of the danger of botulism, these foods must be canned in a pressure canner.

Summer Food Preservation Camps

Learn more about home food preservation at one of Extension’s upcoming summer food preservation camps. Rebecca Catalena, also an Alabama Extension food safety and quality regional agent, said these camps will be both fun and informational.

“Make plans to join us as the team shares safe canning methods,” Catalena said. “We will provide hands-on training on pressure canning, water-bath canning, fermentation, steam juicing, jams, jellies and pickling.”

At these two-day camps, attendees will gain experience in food preservation as well as have items to take home and share. Participants will also receive a complimentary copy of “So Easy to Preserve.” Spots are limited and early registration is encouraged. There is a registration fee for each camp to cover the needed supplies. To register, visit the Alabama Extension Store at www.aces.edu/store.

Home Food Preservation Camp 1
Coosa County
June 26-27

Home Food Preservation Camp 2
Lauderdale County
July 10-11

Home Food Preservation Camp 3
Shelby County
July 24-25

More Information

For more information on these camps, contact Catalena at 251-234-1050 or rjc0026@auburn.edu. Learn more about home food preservation at www.aces.edu.