Today we provide you with food preservation information.
Are you interested in preserving food for your family? Has it been 10 years since you’ve used your Mom’s pressure canner?
Freezing, canning, drying, pickling, smoking, and fermenting food are great ways to take fresh foods from your garden and enjoy them year round. But, a study conducted by the National Center for Home Food Preservation in 2000 showed a high percentage of home food processors were using practices that put them at high risk for foodborne illness and losses due to food spoilage.
There’s a great resource you can use to get the latest research based information, including recipes, instructions, videos, on-line self study courses, and seasonal tips like Holiday Gifts for the Home Food Preserver. The site is supported by the USDA and Cooperative Extension. It’s called the National Center for Home Food Preservation: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp.
To learn more, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp
Today we offer tips on taking care of your freezer.
Have you wondered if you should periodically clean-out your freezer? The answer is Yes.
- Manual-defrost freezers should be defrosted annually or when large areas of frost accumulate more than ¼ inch thick. Wrap and pack your frozen food in cardboard boxes or insulated coolers. Disconnect your freezer and follow manufacturer directions for defrosting. Some manufacturers recommend allowing frost to thaw naturally or with a fan. Others, recommend using pans of hot water. One size doesn’t fit all and some approaches may damage your freezer. Use wooden or plastic scrapers to remove loose frost. Use towels to clean-up water and frost.
- While frost-free freezers don’t need defrosting, they require annual cleaning. Before cleaning any freezer, turn of the power. Wipe surfaces with a baking-soda solution of 1 Tablespoon per quart of water, rinse, towel dry, and replace food.
For more information, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/freeze/freezer_care.html.
Today’s program includes information on buying an electric food dehydrator.
Are you considering purchasing an electric food dehydrator?
Basic electric dehydrators consist of an electric element for heat, a fan, and vents for circulation. There are some important things to consider before you buy:
- If you plan to dry multiple foods at the same time, choose a model with the fan and element located on the side of the unit. This limits mixing of flavors.
- Choose double wall construction of metal or high grade plastic with the UL seal of approval.
- It’s also important that your dehydrator have an enclosed thermostat, timer, a dial for regulating temperature, and 4 to 10 open mesh trays.
For more information on drying foods, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation on-line.
Drying your garden-grown herbs is easy and a great way to enjoy the benefits of your garden through fall and winter.
Have you wondered about drying herbs from your backyard? It’s easy to do and a wonderful way to “stretch” your garden into fall and winter. Rosemary, sage, thyme, summer savory and parsley are among the easiest to dry. Gather them after the dew has evaporated, tie them into small bundles, and hang them in a well ventilated place to dry.
Electric dehydrators are great for drying larger quantities or, microwave ovens may be used for smaller quantities.
Dried herbs are usually 3 to 4 times stronger than fresh herbs. To substitute dried herbs for fresh in a recipe, use 1/4 to 1/3 of the amount listed in the recipe.
If you would like more information about drying herbs, fruit leathers, and drying fruits and vegetables, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation on-line.
Today we share tips on purchasing a boiling-water canner.
Are you planning to purchase a boiling-water canner this summer? Boiling water canners are used to can high acid foods like fruits or tomato products with vinegar or lemon juice in the recipe. Most canners are made of aluminum or porcelain-covered steel that hold seven quart jars or eight to nine pint jars. Fitted with removable perforated racks and a fitted lid, the canners should be large enough to have at least 1 inch of briskly boiling water over the jar tops during processing. If you have an electric range, purchase a canner with a flat bottom and the canner should be no more than 4 inches wider than the heating element. For a gas range, either a flat bottom or a ridged bottom is acceptable.
For more information about boiling water canners, visit the National Center for Home Food Preservation on-line.
Please check back each Wednesday morning for a new “Food Safety in a Minute” episode. Right click the title and select “Save link as…” to save the mp3s to your hard drive. These podcasts are in the public domain, so feel free to use them in any fashion, but please maintain WSU’s affiliation with their production.