Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where to find safe home food preservation recipes and information

Jeannie Nichols, Michigan State University Extension

Unless food is preserved one way or another, it spoils soon after it is harvested or slaughtered. Spoiled food is not only unappealing, but unsafe. The goal of food preservation is to increase the shelf-life of a food while keeping it safe. To do this, sound, research-based preservation methods must be used. Make sure you are using updated reliable food preservation information when preserving food for your family.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia has the most current research-based recommendations for home food preservation. The National Center has information and recipes on canningfreezingdryingcuring and smokingfermentingpicklingmaking jam and jelly and storing. You will find lots of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) information to ensure you are preserving your foods safely.

The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning is a free, 196 page publication offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. The guide contains many research-based recommendations for canning safer and better quality food at home. It explains scientific canning principles and how to achieve safe, high-quality canned products as well as a series of canning guides for specific food, including lots of recipes.

So Easy to Preserve is another reliable resource and one that Michigan State University Extension educators often refer to when answering consumer home food preservation calls and e-mails. This book has research based information on canning, freezing and dehydrating as well as frequently asked questions, a table of problems, causes and ways to prevent the problem from happening again. It is a 375-page book with over 185 tested recipes. It has step-by-step instructions and in-depth information for both new and experienced food preservers. Note: MSUE Jackson County has several copies available for $20/ea.

Last but not least is the Ball Blue Book. It, too, is a reliable resource for you. Here you will find 194 recipes plus lots of other information and food preservation videos to watch.

One important key to success is self-confidence which comes from preparation. When you preserve food, prepare yourself with updated information to ensure that you end up with a safe and high quality product. If you ever have food preservation questions do not hesitate to contact a food safety MSU Extension educator.

This article was published on MSU Extension News. For more information from MSU Extension, visit