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Before you begin this year's canning season, you need to make sure everything is in
Nashville, Ark. – Canning season is right around the corner. Nothing is prettier than
seeing a row of fresh canned vegetables sitting on the shelf of your pantry. It is
a labor of love to spend the time and effort it takes to home can your produce. However,
nothing tastes better than opening that jar of green beans on a cold winter’s night.
They taste just like they were picked.
Before you begin this year’s canning season, you need to take inventory
of your canning supplies and make sure everything is in working order. This includes
the pressure canner. Pressure canners are an initial investment. Since they can be
expensive, many families pass down their canner to younger family members. Or you
may find one, fairly inexpensive, at a garage sale and decide to pick it up. While
there is definitely nothing wrong with that, it is important that the pressure canner
be working properly. The only way to know that is to have it tested to ensure the
safety of the food being processed.
Pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning meat, poultry,
seafood, and low acid vegetables.
If your canner isn’t working properly the foods in the jar can be under-processed,
which even in a pressure canner, can increase the chance that botulism spores may
still be present in the jars. Pressure canners destroy the bacterium Clostridium Botulinum
which can be found in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and
pressure in pressure canners.
If Clostridium botulinum bacteria survive and grow inside a sealed jar
of food, they can produce a poisonous toxin. Even a taste of food containing this
toxin can be fatal. Using boiling water bath canners when a pressure canner is intended
will pose an increased real risk of botulism poisoning.
Pressure canners for use in the home have been extensively redesigned
in recent years. Models made before the 1970’s were heavy-walled kettles with clamp-on
or turn-on lids. They were fitted with a dial gauge, a vent port in the form of a
petcock or counterweight, and a safety fuse. Modern pressure canners are lightweight,
thin walled kettles; most have turn-on lids. The older models are still safe, as long
as the dial is accurate, they are just heavier.
Newer models will have a jar rack, gasket, dial or weighted gauge, an
automatic vent/cover lock, a vent port (steam vent) to be closed with a counterweight
or weighted gauge, and a safety fuse.
Pressure does not destroy microorganisms, but high temperatures applied
for an adequate period of time do kill microorganisms. The success of destroying all
microorganisms capable of growing in canned food is based on the temperature obtained
in pure steam, free of air. A canner operated at a gauge pressure of 10.5 pounds of
pressure provides an internal temperature of 240ºF.
Green beans and tomatoes are among the most popular vegetables for home
canning. Because of their low acidity, vegetables such as green beans must be processed
in a pressure canner.
Test your equipment yearly, before the canning season begins for accuracy.
I will be testing pressure canner dials at the Nashville Farmer’s Market this Friday
at 9:00 a.m. for free. Just bring by your canner lid with dial gauge and the rubber
seal. It will take just a few minutes and you can shop for fresh produce while I test
To kick off the canning season, I will also be conducting several food
preservation classes this summer. The first one is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12
from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. We will be learning how to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables
correctly. On Thursday, June 14 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. we will learn the basics of
pressure canning low-acid vegetables. The cost for these workshops is $10.00 each.
If you can’t make the pressure canner testing at the Farmers Market, feel
free to call me at 870-845-7517 to set up a time at our office. If you are interested
in a complete list of Food Preservation Classes being offered this summer, call or
visit the Howard County Extension Office located on the second floor of the courthouse
in Nashville. And, of course, you can call our office at the telephone number above
for all your canning questions. All of our information follows USDA guidelines for
Home Food Preservation.
Try this recipe while berries are at their peak. It is super easy to make
and is so delicious! This is a great project to do with children or if this is your
first time making jam. Keep the jams safe to eat. Do not make any changes to ingredients or directions. Raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries work well in freezer jam recipes. This
recipe is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/.)
Follow this basic recipe or use the instructions on the powdered pectin package.
2 cups crushed berries
4 cups sugar
1 package powdered pectin
1 cup water
Yield: 5 or 6 half-pint jars or freezer containers
By Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff ChairThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Jean Ince County Extension Agent - Staff Chair U of A Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852 (870) 845-7517 email@example.com
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.