Upcoming UNL Extension trainings focus on home food storage | Lifestyles

By Brenda Aufdenkamp Nebraska Extension

Many Nebraskans are excited this time of year to begin preparations to preserve the great flavors of the growing season at home. Cooks should follow step-by-step instructions in research-approved and tested recipes to ensure they are preserving a safe canned product. One such site would be the National Center for Home Food Preservation at nchfp.uga.edu.

Preventing the growth of Clostridium botulinum spores is the overall goal of home canning. Proper canning methods and precise measurements must be followed to ensure a safe, shelf-stable product.

Low acid foods have pH values ​​above 4.6. These foods contain too little acidity to inhibit the growth of bacteria. They include red meats, seafood, poultry, milk, and all fresh vegetables except most tomatoes. Most food mixtures have pH values ​​above 4.6, unless the recipes contain enough lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar to make them acidic.

These low-acid foods should be processed between 240 degrees Fahrenheit and 250 degrees Fahrenheit. This can only be achieved in a pressure cooker. When using a pressure cooker above sea level, the pressure of the cooker must be increased in order to develop equivalent temperatures. The time required to destroy bacteria in low-acid canned foods ranges from 20 to 160 minutes. The exact time depends on the type of food being canned, how it is packed in jars, and the size of the jars.

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Boiling water canning is the recommended method for processing acidic foods with a pH of 4.6 or less on the pH scale. They include most fruits, most tomatoes, salsas, and foods that have been acidified, such as pickles, sauerkraut, or jams/jellies.

Nebraska Extension offers several upcoming programs to help guide and prepare home gardeners with the right methods to preserve their garden produce.

A free online Zoom program will be offered from 7-8 p.m. for three nights by the Nebraska Extension Food Safety Team. For more information, email the Extension Educator listed for the day you would like to attend.

April 19: “Jelly Making,” Nancy Urbanec at go.unl.edu/jellyclass.

May 3: “Freezing Food,” Kayla Hinrichs at [email protected]

June 14: “Canned Carrots Under Pressure,” Brenda Aufdenkamp at [email protected]

Nebraska Extension will also offer hands-on, in-person food preservation programs throughout Nebraska. For specific courses, registration information, contact the specific instructor.

Norfolk: April 18, 3:30 and 6 p.m., extension educator Carol Larvick, email [email protected]

South Sioux City: April 27, 6 p.m., extension educator Carol Larvick, email [email protected]

» North Platte: June 7 and 13, 4 p.m., register at go.unl.edu/wccanning.

» Imperial: June 9, 4-7pm MT, register at go.un.edu/wccanning.

» Grant: June 15, 4-7pm MT, register at go.unl.edu/wccanning.

For more information, visit food.unl.edu