Summary and Comparison of Home Food Preservation Methods:
Canning (bottling), freezing, drying, pickling, jam/jelly making and fermenting
Below are general descriptions of common, safe home food preservation methods. Click on the links to see tested recipes and directions using
these methods. Also see this page for a
glossary of terms used in home preserving.
Approved Safe Home Preservation Methods
is the process in which foods are placed in jars or cans and heated to a temperature that destroys microorganisms and inactivates enzymes. This
heating and later cooling forms a vacuum seal. The vacuum seal prevents other microorganisms from decontaminating the food within the jar or can.
Acid foods such as fruits and tomatoes can be processed or "canned" in boiling water (also called the "water bath method"), while low acid
vegetables and meats must be processed in a Pressure Canner at 240°F (10 pounds pressure at sea level). See this page for
why you should use a canner and how to choose one. There are a
large number of unsafe canning methods that people use, from the no processing at all (just fill the jars and seal, called "open kettle" canning) to
oven canning, microwave canning and even using the dishwasher. See this page for
a description of these unsafe methods, why they are dangerous and links to references about them.
is another form of canning. Pickled products have an increased acidity that makes it difficult for most bacteria to grow. The amount of acid present
is very important to the safety of the product. Pickled products are also heated in jars at boiling temperatures to destroy any other microorganisms
present and form a vacuum in the jar.
Jams and Jellies have a very high sugar content. The sugar binds with the liquid
present making it difficult for microorganisms to grow. To prevent surface contamination after the product is made and thus possible yeast or mold
growth, these are either canned, frozen, or refrigerated.
reduces the temperature of the food so that microorganisms cannot grow, however many will survive. Enzyme activity is slowed down, but not stopped
removes most of the moisture from foods. Thus microorganisms cannot grow and enzyme action is slowed down. Dried foods should be stored in airtight
containers to prevent moisture from rehydrating the products and allowing microbial growth.
(Source: So Easy To Preserve, 4th edition, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia)
Water Bath Canner
Home Canning Kits
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and
lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting
wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning,
the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately.
You'll never need anything else except jars & lids! To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!For
more information and current pricing:
Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Or pectin to make jam,
spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes? Get them all here, and
usually at lower prices than your local store!
Shared Bottom Border
Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!
Are you following the latest canning recommendations?
Canning guidelines were revised in 1989 following extensive research. Canning instructions printed before 1989 may be unsafe. Here are some of the newer
recommendations you should be using (these are incorporated into all of the recipes on pickyourown.org - we use only the most up-to-date directions and
recommendations from the USDA, Ball and major university food science labs:
Bottled lemon juice should be added to all canned tomatoes.
Jellies, jams, and preserves should be processed in a boiling water bath.
Pickles and pickled products should be processed in a boiling water bath.
The pressure for your pressure canner and the time for processing in a boiling water bath should be adjusted according to your local altitude.