Are you ready for home food preservation

Our early spring season this year has sent gardeners and home food preservationists to the garden centers and catalogues, and planting in a frenzy optimistic that this will be the best season yet. But, before it’s time to harvest, take time to inventory home food preservation equipment and supplies.

Freezing berries is just around the corner. You’ll need colanders (3), hard sided freezer containers (8, 16 and 32 ounce sizes), freezer-weight plastic bags in a variety of sizes, aluminum jelly-roll or cake pan (tray-freezing), paper towels, labels and water-proof marker. Freezing berries for future use is quick and easy.

Check your canning equipment: water-bath canner, weight-gauge pressure canner, heat-tempered Mason jars (8, 12, 16, 32 ounce sizes), rings, new lids (check the use-by date on lids box), tongs, jar-lifters, cooling racks, produce preparation utensils, measuring equipment (wet and dry), jar-filler or funnel, bubble-releaser, timer, clean towels and hot-pads. A lot of equipment is needed to can fruits and vegetables. Heat processing of jellied and pickled products is necessary to prevent spoilage and ensure a tight seal of the lid. A lot of time and money are spent on making jellied and pickled products. . . I hate to tell people to throw out products that were not made according to research-based methods.

Now, that brings up the preparation and processing methods one needs to follow to have nutritious, attractive and safe-to-eat home-preserved products. . . The University of Georgia’s Center for Home Food Preservation is the source of the latest food preservation methods and recipes. Available in the Columbus Extension office is, “So Easy to Preserve”, a 375-page book with over 185 tested recipes, along with step-by-step instructions and in-depth information for both the new and experienced food preservers. The book is $18, cash or check accepted. Stop in and pick up the book.

Like to use the web? Go to http://www.homefoodpreservation.com, the location for the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Questions??? Call me in Columbus at 706.653.4200.

By Joanne S. Cavis, CFCS
UGA Cooperative Extension

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