Posts Tagged ‘home canning’

The pandemic prompted many more people to plant vegetable gardens this year. Both seed companies and Extension Master Gardener programs have noticed this increase between purchases and visits to online courses and resources.  Some people had the time to plant because they were off work or working at home, others planted as a way to relieve their stress, and many planted to ensure they would have fresh produce for the summer (and maybe longer if they preserved by canning, drying, or freezing). In Ohio, these gardens are now yielding green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, fresh herbs, cucumbers, onions, sweet corn, and much more. When the first vegetables ripen everyone is excited to fix them for lunch or dinner, but after a few weeks you may be wondering “Why did I plant so much?” or “What can I do with the rest of this, because my kids won’t eat corn again this week?” If this is you – Ohio State University Extension (and other Land Grant Universities, the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and the USDA) are here to help.home canned foods

There are several key points to keep in mind when you decide you want to preserve produce for the future, here are the top three:

  1. Always use reliable, approved guidelines from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, or Cooperative Extension. You may ask “Why can’t I just use anything I see on the Internet or make my pepper relish the way my Great Grandma did?” The main reason is because especially low-acid foods (vegetables, meats, or seafood) have to be pressure canned to prevent botulism, which is serious stuff. By using resources from the above sources, you ensure that you are using safe, tested procedures that will provide high quality results. Check the date too, are you using a source from the last couple years? New research and procedures come out all the time. Make sure you are using materials dated in the last 5 years (even though it may be fun to look at a cookbook from 50 years ago, canning isn’t when you want to follow that recipe). Remember that canning is a science, not an art.
  2. Decide if are you are canning, freezing, or drying the produce based on your plans for future use and the foods your family will eat. It does not benefit your family to spend lots of time and purchase the supplies needed if they will not eat the final product you preserve. For example, there are many things you can do with tomatoes – salsa, canned whole tomatoes, tomato juice, spaghetti sauce, dried vegetable leather, and even spiced tomato jam. Consider the foods your family enjoys before you can 50 jars something that only one person likes.
  3. Ensure you have the proper supplies to make the product. Do you need a pressure canner, or can you use a hot water bath canner? Do you have enough Mason style canning jars or freezer quality containers? Do you need a food dehydrator, or can you use your oven or other drying racks? Here is a quick reference chart if you aren’t sure if you need to use a hot water bath or pressure canner.

In addition to the sources listed about for food preservation here are a few others:

Enjoy the fruits of your labor all year long by using safe preservation methods.

Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.

Reviewer: Kate Shumaker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Holmes County.


The National Center for Home Food Preservation, https://nchfp.uga.edu/

University of Minnesota Extension, https://extension.umn.edu/preserving-and-preparing/canning-quick-reference-chart

Utah State University Extension, https://extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/food-preservation-tips.

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Most people know that today is known as Cinco de Mayo but many aren’t aware that May is National Salsa Month.  National Salsa Month began in 1997, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pace® salsa in recognition of the popularity and unique heritage of salsa.

In observance, you should consider trying to make your own homemade salsa.  All it takes are some fresh ingredients and some dicing!  If you don’t have all of the seasonings on hand, most grocery stores carry salsa seasoning packets in the produce section.  This could save you time and money.

Most salsas are tomato-based but there are many recipes available that use a variety of other ingredients.

  • Mangos
  • Pineapples
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Corn
  • Carrots

Salsa is typically eaten as a dip with tortilla chips but it can also be used to add flavor to other main dish items, such as chicken and beef.

Interested in preserving your own salsa?  You should always follow a tested home canning recipe.  Here are some resources to use:

Do not add extra ingredients to the salsa recipe prior to processing it as this can affect the acidity of the salsa which is critical to the safety of the home-canned product.  You can always add extra ingredients right before serving the salsa, if you desire.

Keep food safety in mind when storing your salsa.  Refrigeration is the key to enjoying salsa safely.  Once commercially-prepared salsa or home-canned salsa is opened, the unused portion must be refrigerated.  “Fresh” salsa must also be refrigerated.  Fresh salsa has a much shorter shelf life than the canned or jarred versions.

Whether you like to preserve your own, make fresh salsa, or pick up a jar at the grocery store, enjoy some during National Salsa Month.


Ohio State University Extension.  http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5339

University of Connecticut Extension.   http://4-hfans.uconn.edu/recipes/05may.php

University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension.  http://food.unl.edu/documents/May_SalsaMonth_Webletter_04_30_14.pdf

University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service.  http://www.wyomingextension.org/agpubs/pubs/B1210-4.pdf

USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE03_HomeCan_rev0715.pdf


Writer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Reviewer: Melissa Welker, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, welker.87@osu.edu

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