Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MYTH: It is safe to use grandma's home canning recipes or canning recipes found on the internet.

Answer: BUSTED!

Home canning is a science that preserves food by killing bacteria, molds, and yeasts; inactivating enzymes; and creating a vacuum in the jar. Recipes should be considered more like the procedure of a science experiment, rather than an old recipe that can be altered as needed. With so many variables at work, recipes are rigorously tested to ensure that, once preserved, foods are safe to store and eat.

An unsafe home-canned food could contain extremely harmful bacteria and toxins if:
  • A low-acid food was not processed in a pressure canner at the right pressure for the right amount of time

  • The gauge of the canner was inaccurate

  • Ingredients were used from a recipe that was not tested for canning

  • Proportions of foods in a tested recipe were changed
Only tested recipes from your state's Cooperative Extension Service, USDA, or the Ball Blue Book (dated 1989 or later) are safe to use. Canning procedures from these same sources should be dated 2009 or later to ensure appropriate processing of foods.

Questions about canning? Contact your local MU Extension Nutrition and Health Education Specialist.

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