OSKALOOSA — Barbara Anderson, ISU Extension Family Nutrition Specialist, wants people to know more about safe methods of food preservation including canning, dehydrating and freezing.
Preserving foods was once an American way of life as people made sure to put away foods for later consumption. That doesn't happen much now. Skills that were once commonplace are now specialized.
When preserving foods in mason jars, Anderson said it is important to know the acid level of the food you are preserving. Acidity any food can be measured on a scale from zero to 14, with zero being high in acid and 14 being low. For example, meats are usually low in acidity, while fruits and vegetables can have higher acidity, she said.
Preserving foods can also preserve dangerous bacteria if basic safety steps are not taken. Some bacteria can thrive in canned or preserved foods, so it is very important to know how to sterilize equipment and use proper temperatures to prepare the foods.
When it comes to the equipment used for preserving foods in jars, Anderson said it is important to use new items such as jars, jar tops and other materials.
Anderson also noted some methods for preserving foods in jars are not recommended. She said it’s best to use only the methods recommended by the USDA.
For more information on food preservation, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/families/answerline or www.uga.edu./nchfp.