An abundance of homegrown fruits and vegetables often triggers the desire to can foods at home. While this can be a fun and rewarding way to keep foods long after the season ends, care must be taken to assure that foods canned at home are safe to eat.
Not all recipes for home canning have been tested for safety. Sources of tested recipes include the National Center for Home Food Preservation (www.uga.edu/nchfp/), the U.S. Department of Agriculture and manufacturers of home canning equipment and supplies.
Recipes from cookbooks, outdated Extension publications and the Internet should not be used. There are many other aspects to canning that one needs to consider, including water bath or pressure canner, appropriate recipe, jar size, headspace and recommended processing (canning) times.
Wise County area residents who are interested in learning how to use a pressure canner and water bath canner are invited to attend a couple of Backyard Basics workshops hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office of Wise County. Cost for each workshop is $20 per person. The first program, “The Basics – Using a Pressure Canner and Water Bath Canner,” is 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, at the Extension office. The workshop will teach participants techniques and skills to safely can homegrown vegetables and fruits. Participants will take home a jar of homemade salsa.
The second Backyard Basics program, “Food Preservation with Jams and Jellies,” is 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 16. Participants will learn how to make and process their own jams and jellies. Freezer preservation will also be covered. To register, call 940-627-3341. Space is limited.
Tanya Davis is a Wise County Extension agent.