Preserving the flavors of summer — safe home canning

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Our gardens, orchards and farmers markets are overflowing with fresh produce!  It’s a great time to preserve some of summer’s bounty by home canning locally grown fruits and vegetables. Home canning can save money, provide a sense of accomplishment and yield wonderful gifts for family and friends. For best results and safe, good-tasting products, be sure to follow USDA recommendations:


Start with the freshest, best quality fruits and vegetables. Spoilage and loss of vitamins begin right after harvest.

Wash produce well. Trim as needed.

To ensure safe home-canned foods, use only research-based recipes and processing times. The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning has hundreds of recipes for canning foods from A to Z and is available free of charge at http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html or at your local county Extension office.

High acid foods like fruit, tomatoes with lemon juice added or pickles can be safely canned in a boiling water bath canner following USDA-recommended recipes.

For low acid foods like green beans, corn and other vegetables, meats, poultry or fish, be sure to use a pressure canner to kill any spores of Clostridium botulinum that might be present — a boiling water bath doesn’t get hot enough to kill the spores. If allowed to grow in canned foods, these bacteria cause botulism, a deadly form of food poisoning.

Use only Mason-type jars designed for home canning, with self-sealing lids. Mayonnaise and other commercial food jars are more likely to break in the canner.  Jars and rings may be reused if in good condition, but the self-sealing lids should be used only once.

Be sure to process jars for the full length of time specified in the recipe.

When using a pressure canner, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. For dial gauge pressure canners, have the gauge tested each year for accuracy. Your local Extension office should be able to do this for you.

After processing, cool jars slowly and test seals after 12-24 hours. Reprocess unsealed jars within 24 hours for the full processing time given in the recipe, or refrigerate and use the contents of unsealed jars within several days.

Store sealed jars in a cool dry place. For best quality, use home-canned foods within one year.


Home-can your fresh produce safely this summer, and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor throughout the coming year.


Pressure Canner Testing

If you do lots of home canning or want to can some of that wonderful ripe summer produce and have a canner you have not used for several years you should have your pressure canner gauge tested to be sure it is accurate.  And, the Carroll County Extension office can test it for you.

Just bring your lid and gauge by the office, and I will test it for you. Give me a call ahead to be sure I will be available; if I am not at the office, I will test it as soon as I return.


Christmas in July

The Carroll County Extension Homemakers will host a “Christmas in July” Workshop from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday, July 25 at the Carroll County Extension office.

Participants will have the chance to select from five holiday crafts that will be taught including “radiant star;” a folded fabric decorated ball; a Santa face wall hanging made of yo-yo’s; a folded fabric Christmas tree; a holiday tree made of yo-yos; or origami holiday flowers.

All sessions are still available. To register or for more class information, call the Extension office at (502) 732-7030 or e-mail me at gangotti@uky.edu. We invite all interested people to attend.


Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.