Canning is making a comeback and is a good way to enjoy produce year-round. However, canning needs to be done properly using a USDA-tested recipe to ensure a safe product. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers a program for those interested in learning more about safely preserving food, Preserve the Taste of Summer. This program includes hands-on workshops providing the most current USDA-approved food preservation recommendations.
This summer, Cedar Rapids-area residents will have the opportunity to build their food preservation skills with two different hands-on workshops held at the Kirkwood Culinary Kitchen in NewBo. Cost is $35 per workshop and the registration deadline is one week prior to the class date.
June 8, 1-5pm: Salsa Making. To register visit: http://bit.ly/ptts12888
June 30, 1-5pm: Jams and Dehydrating. To register visit: http://bit.ly/ptts12890
Where can I find a tested recipe for home preserved salsa?
• Always choose and use a tested recipe for home preserved salsa.
o These recipes have been tested to ensure that there is enough acidity to balance the amount of low acid vegetables in salsa.
o The onions, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes are low in acid so they must be combined with a quantity of acid to make a mixture that is safe to process in a boiling water bath canner.
o If there is not enough acid in the salsa, the botulism bacteria can grow.
o Using a tested recipe and following it without changing the recipe is the only way to guarantee safety.
• Safe tested recipes can be found here:
o Preserve the Taste of Summer publications
o National Center for Home Food Preservation
Jams and Dehydrating
• Basic ingredients:
o Fruit – provides the characteristic color and flavor to the product.
o Pectin – substance that causes fruit to gel.
o Sugar – important ingredient that must be present in the proper proportion with pectin and acid to make a good gel.
o Acid – needed for both gel formation and flavor.
• 2 methods to safely dry foods at home:
o Using a thermostatically-controlled electric dehydrator.
o Electric or gas oven (must be able to maintain temperature of 140 - 145°F).
• Prepare items:
o Choose high quality produce, wash, and prepare soon after harvesting.
o Fruits: Pre-treatment of lighter-colored fruits is important to prevent darkening.
o Cut into thin, uniform slices for even drying.
o Place dried foods in tightly closed container.
o Stir or shake every day for a week (equalizes moisture).
o If food is still too moist, return to dryer.