OSU Extension provides free resources for safe home food preservation
Many useful recipes and directions for safe, high-quality preserved foods can be found at Oregon State University Extension offices. OSU Extension has been providing research-based resources and training to individuals and families from county offices for over 100 years.
Over that time, there have been many changes and improvements in foods, recipes, methods, equipment and technology. It is important to keep current with the latest information for both quality and safety. Any low-acid food stored in an anaerobic (no oxygen) environment at room temperature (except properly dried foods) can be at risk for botulism, a very serious food-borne illness. You cannot see, smell or taste it, so following directions is important to prevent this risk.
OSU Extension utilizes recipes tested at the National Center for Home Food Preservation and other universities that do testing in laboratories with skilled researchers. In a partnership with Washington State University and University of Idaho Extension Services, OSU improves the clarity and quality of the recipes with additional details, instructions or photos based on questions from clients.
Food preservation publications from OSU Extension include recipes, but also include information on the food preservation method, tips on use of equipment and allowable substitutions. Resources can be found at county offices but are also free online at https://beav.es/OSUFoodPreservation where they can be viewed or downloaded from your device. Directions include safe and best quality boiling water canning, pressure canning, pickling and fermentation, smoking and curing, drying, freezing and general food storage.
If you have questions, you can call your county office to talk to trained staff, but you can also use the Ask Extension link found on all OSU Extension Service county office web pages, send an email directly, or check for updates at the OSU Extension Food Preservation Facebook page.
From mid-July to mid-October, the OSU Extension Food Safety and Preservation Hotline is open 1-800-354-7319 for questions weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Certified OSU Extension Master Food Preservers (MFP) staff the hotline. You might also see MFP volunteers at food preservation displays at county fairs or other community events where they are happy to discuss food preservation tips or issues that interest you.
In 2020, home gardening increased and so did canning. The most popular publications viewed and/or downloaded from the OSU Extension website showed that many, many people had an abundance of tomatoes! There was a lot of interest in "Tomatoes and Tomato Products and Salsa Recipes for Canning."
Processing times for tomatoes had big changes from research done in 1989. Canning tomatoes safely depends on style of pack (crushed, or whole or halved packed without liquid, in water or in juice), size of jar, raw or hot pack and processing method. Along with tomatoes, salsa made without a tested recipe can produce risk of botulism. Alternative or home-style salsa recipes should be frozen instead.
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