Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Myth: I do not have a pressure canner, so it is safe to use my boiling water bath method for all my canning needs.

Answer: Busted!

Pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. The bacterium Clostridium botulinum is destroyed in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and pressure in pressure canners. Using boiling water canners for these foods poses a real risk of botulism poisoning.

Low acid foods lack the acidity needed to inhibit the growth of bacteria and spores that can survive boiling water temperatures (212ºF.) A temperature of 240ºF is needed to destroy bacterial spores. This temperature can only be reached in a pressure canner; at 10 pounds pressure or higher.

Two reliable sources for additional information are Missouri Families and the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Contributor: Maude Harris, EdD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extention, harrismau@missouri.edu

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