Canning…Pressure or No Pressure?

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Canning season is here and there are tons or unreliable resources out there. Unfortunately, grandma can be one of those sources along with TikTok! I know we can learn a lot from both, but when it comes to food safety, we should make sure we are getting our information from trusted, research based sources. Take a look at the webiste for The National Center For Home Food Preservation to learn the safe ways to preserve food at home. Jars of pressure canned green beans and carrots.

All the time I hear about people water bath canning their green beans or dry canning them in the oven…this is very dangerous! The only safe and acceptable way to can low acid foods like most vegetables is to pressure can them.

According to the website, “The Clostridium botulinum microorganism is the main reason pressure canning is necessary. Though the bacterial cells are killed at boiling temperatures, the spores they form can withstand very long boiling. In the soils, these bacteria are naturally found in the spore form. The spores grow out well in moist, low-acid foods in the absence of air, such as in canned low acid foods (vegetables and meats). When this happens, the spores change to growing bacterial cells which produce the deadly botulinum toxin (poison). This growth and toxin formation can occur without any noticeable signs of spoilage in the sealed jar. These spores can be destroyed by canning the food at a temperature of at least 240°F. This temperature is above the 212°F. boiling point of water, so it can only be reached in a pressure canner at the appropriate pressure (10 pounds at sea level).”

The only foods that are safe to can with the boiling water method are high acid foods such as fruits and tomatoes as well as foods with acids added to them like salsa and pickles. Speaking of salsa, make sure you are following an approved recipe when canning because altering the ingredients on your own can mess up the pH and make an item less acidic, thus increasing your risk for botulism and other sicknesses.

Summer bounty.

So, if you find yourself with an abundance of fresh veggies this summer, make sure you are canning them the correct way. If you have any questions, refer to the website above or contact the Rutherford County Extension Office.