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Health & Wellness Column: Food Preservation Goes Online

March 1, 2021
Health & Wellness Column

Virginia Aparicio
Extension Educator – Health & Human Sciences
Purdue Extension Elkhart County
574-533-0554, vaparici@purdue.edu

Food Preservation Goes Online

When done correctly, home food preservation can produce a bounty of safe and delicious food. If done incorrectly, it can lead to severe illness. Purdue Extension’s Mastering Home Food Preservation team provides the most recent, research-based information to help people safely preserve foods at home.

Last summer, the team offered an eight-session virtual series titled "Purdue Extension: Preserve It Now...Enjoy It Later", which can be viewed on YouTube. The videos cover equipment needs, freezing, boiling water bath canning, making jam and jelly, pressure canning, pickling, dehydration, and fermentation.

Over 500 people took one or more of the virtual courses. The series provided essential information for Hoosiers new to home food preservation. Over 80 percent of those surveyed before the course indicated they didn’t preserve food at home or hadn’t done so for many years.

One of the workshops focuses on dehydrating and shows you how to hide vegetables in children’s meals and make fruit rolls in a dehydrator for a healthy snack instead of buying store-bought fruit roll-ups.

According to the CDC, foodborne botulism is often caused by eating home-canned foods that have not been canned properly. Commercially canned foods are much less likely to be a source of botulism because modern commercial canning processes kill C. botulinum spores.

The food preservation series is great for those who want to can food, but are fearful of endangering themselves or their family. Purdue Extension demonstrates food preservation techniques that are healthy, budget-friendly, and safe.

Beware of recipes and cookbooks that do not follow the steps in the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, even if you received these items from a trusted friend or family member. Get a copy of the USDA Guide, a resource available for people canning for the first time or for experienced canners who want to improve their canning practices from the Purdue Extension Education store.

The Purdue Extension Education store provides downloadable food preservation and storage resources as well as numerous other food and nutrition topics. The "Let's Preserve" series includes free publication downloads for basic home canning, freezing vegetables, drying fruits, and dehydrating vegetables. Publications are also available for preserving the following food items: meat and poultry, tomatoes, pears, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples, fruit pie fillings, jelly, jam and spreads, peppers, snap beans, sweet corn, sauerkraut, herbs, and quick process pickles.

The National Center for Home Food Preservation website is another resource for research-based home food preservation information and recipes. Visit https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_home.html for publications in English and Spanish, seasonal tips, and multimedia. For more information, contact Virginia Aparicio at (574) 533-0554 or vaparici@purdue.edu ###

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