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F.Y.I

Home Food Preservation

Whether you are a first-timer or you have been canning for decades, you want to give your family the tastiest, healthiest, most nutritious foods possible. Understanding how to safely keep food healthy and wholesome is the key to canning success. In the air and all around us are invisible microorganisms such as molds, yeasts and bacteria. Many of these microorganisms are beneficial to us while others can be harmful under certain conditions. These “spoilers” live and multiply on the surface of fruits, vegetables, meats and all other types of food.

Canning interrupts the normal spoilage and decaying cycle of food by heating the food contained in a home canning jar that has been closed with a vacuum sealing cap. When heat is applied at the correct temperature and held there for the time designated by a specific tested home canning recipe, it destroys potentially harmful microorganisms at the same time it drives air from the jar. Upon cooling, the lid seals onto the jar. The vacuum that has formed prevents other microorganisms from entering and contaminating the food.

Improvements in canning equipment, kitchen utensils and small appliances make canning a simple, safe and efficient method of food preservation. Some equipment that you may need might include:

  • Jars of various sizes with regular or wide mouth openings Ball, Kerr, Weck (imported from Germany)
  • Le Parfait (imported from Canada)
  • Water bath canners for high acid foods, jams and jellies (both Jarden brand and Columbian Home)
  • Pressure canners for low acid foods (Presto , All American )
  • Pectin, Pickle Crisp, Pickling Spice, Canning Salt
  • Canning Utensils: Jar Lifter, Jar Funnel, Bubble Remover, Headspace Tool, Lid Wand
  • Specialty Equipment: Food Scale, Food Mill, Grinder, Candy or Jelly Thermometer, Cheesecloth.
  • Jelly Strainer, Slotted Spoon, Colander, Crocks, Hullers, Corn Creamers, Fruit Wedgers, Labels
  • Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer, Apple Corers, Steamer/Juicer

Heather Thelen of Hawthorne Country Store and Felina Vie make Pomegranate Pear Jam in Comet Lounge Episode #2

Food Dehydration

Food dehydration, or food drying, is done with a specific purpose in mind: to preserve the food from spoiling in the most natural way possible. It can be defined as a process of inactivating enzymes, or removing water from a food to a point at which bacterial and other spoilage microorganisms are inhibited from growing. Properly dehydrated or dried food can last for months without refrigeration.

For dehydration to take place,two basic conditions must be present:

  • Heat-enough to draw out moisture.
  • Air circulation-to carry the moisture off and evaporate it.

Electric food dehydrators are the easiest and most dependable means of dehydrating food. Excalibur is a leading manufacturer of fine quality dehydrators.