Plan Now To Preserve Wisconsin Harvest
- Inspect and repair any food preservation equipment at the beginning of the season. Now is a good time to inspect canners or food dehydrators to make sure all equipment is in working condition. And start now to collect approved canning jars and lids for use during the season. Canning jars that use two-piece self-sealing metal lids are recommended for home canning. Jars should be free of nicks or scratches. A ‘must’ every canning season are new flat lids; metal screw bands that are not bent or rusted can be reused.
- Have dial-gauge pressure canners tested for accuracy. A pressure canner is essential for canning low-acid vegetables, meats, fish and poultry. Pressure canners come with either a dial-gauge or a weighted-gauge. Dial-gauge pressure canners should be tested each year for accuracy. The Fond du Lac County Extension office offers this service at no charge. Please bring your lid to our office between the hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. When staffing allows, we can usually conduct the test while you wait.
- Always follow an up-to-date tested recipe from a reliable source. This is perhaps the most important step in preparing for home food preservation, according to Dr. Ingham. Cookbooks and old family recipes are not reliable sources of research-tested recipes. Consult the Fond du Lac County Extension office for recipes which will ensure that you are canning safe, high quality foods. The University of Wisconsin Extension has up-to-date recipes in bulletins on safe canning of fruit, jams and jellies, meat, pickles, salsa, tomatoes, and vegetables; and information on freezing fruits and vegetables. The Fond du Lac County Extension Office has copies of the up-to-date Wisconsin Safe Food Preservation Series bulletins. This information is also available online at www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/ Begin the food preservation season by updating your resources so that you can be sure that you are preserving safe, high quality food for your family to enjoy.
More tomatoes are home-canned than any other product. And home-canned tomatoes can be so delicious. But many people are still unaware that tomato-canning recommendations changed dramatically way back in 1994,” says Ingham. “I answer questions every year from consumers who are not aware that you must add acid to home-canned tomato products to ensure safety. And this is just one example where even though it’s tempting to return time and again to a family-favorite recipe, it’s important to update your canning recipes as guidelines change. “
“Food safety is, and should be, a primary concern when home canning any type of food, from pickles to meat. The extension service sets itself apart in providing research-based information,” said Amanda Miller, Family Living Educator at the Fond du Lac County Extension office.
And to help you keep up-to-date with home canning practices, Fond du Lac County is offering the following classes and events:
Hands-on canning classes for beginners; more experienced canners also welcomed, from 5:30-7:30 pm in Room 205/206 at the Extension Office. There is no fee to attend. Please register to Gloria at: (920) 929-3173. A small fee is involved and the classes are limited to 15 participants.
Tuesday, July 12 – Fruit Pie Fillings. Enjoy year round pie making with freshly preserved fruits. Lear the basics of canning and freezing homemade pie fillings and how to use Clear-Jel.
Tuesday, August 16 – Italy in a Jar. Create an Italian feast using only fresh ingredients. Learn the basics of canning tomato sauces and specialty foods, like bruschetta in a jar.
Tuesday, September 20 – Homemade Condiments. Serve up a meal with homemade condiments made from garden produce, including ketchup, vinegar and mustards.
The following Canning Demonstrations will be held at the Downtown Fond du Lac Farmers Markets on Main Street from 8:00 am to Noon. Registration is not necessary and there is no fee.
Saturday, July 2 – Learn the basics of canning fruits, including sugar and sugar-free products.
Saturday, August 6 – Learn the basics of canning tomatoes, including tomato varieties and to measure quantity.
Saturday, September 3 – Learn about blanching, proper freezer storage, and the benefits of freezing.
Saturday, September 26 – “You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato”: Canning Tomatoes & Tomato Products
Saturday, October 1 – Learn about the various drying methods, drying times, and how to properly use drying equipment.
Do you have a food preservation or food safety question? Contact: Amanda Miller, Family Living Educator, Fond du Lac County UW-Extension by calling 920-929-3173 or emailing [email protected] or our website at http://fonddulac.uwex.edu