Food preservation is important, but be sure you're doing it safely

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By: Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross

Chiot's Run/Flickr

This summer has been a grand champion one regarding all the great food we grow in our gardens. Some of our garden vegetables have been earlier and others would like some warmer weather and more sunshine.

For many of us, healthy eating means eating lots of vegetables and fruits, but you can only eat so much. When we have a plentiful harvest, we begin to share with family and friends, and then begin to practice food preservation.

As I was growing up, wonderful family time was spent with a lot of food preservation. These are really wonderful memories with grandparents, parents, neighbors and friends sharing so much more than just preserving food.

From little on up, I learned it all: drying sweet corn on a corn drier on the stove; drying all kinds of fruits and vegetables, some in the air and some in the food drier; then lots of freezing, water bath and pressure canning; jams and jelly making and all kinds of pickled foods.

The ultimate in fine eating is enjoying food at its best quality. The next challenge is keeping food safe for an extended period of time. There are many ways that food can be kept safe at room temperature, refrigerated, dried, frozen, canned, pickled and persevered as jams and jellies.

One of my concerns with food preservation is that everyone has the knowledge and skills and works at keeping it safe. It is so important that you practice safe food preservation and use research-based recipes.

You will find excellent sources of information at your land grant university, through the Purdue Extension Service food preservation publications. For more recipes, tips and creative ideas visit freshpreserving.com or call The Ball Canning Hotline at 1-800-240-3340.

If you are using the internet as a resource, I cannot stress enough that you please make sure and use an educational site (it will have a web address ending in .edu) or use the following suggested sites: The National Center for Home Food Preservation or the University of Georgia’s Extension.

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