Home food preservation made easy
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Home Food Preservation Made Easy. Prepared by:. Renay Knapp, Henderson County Tracy Davis, Rutherford County Cathy Hohenstein, Buncombe County Julie Padgett, McDowell County Sue Estridge, Madison County Sandi Sox, Polk County. Acknowledgements. Angela Fraser, NC State University

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Home Food Preservation Made Easy

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Home food preservation made easy

Home Food PreservationMade Easy

Prepared by

Prepared by:

  • Renay Knapp, Henderson County

  • Tracy Davis, Rutherford County

  • Cathy Hohenstein, Buncombe County

  • Julie Padgett, McDowell County

  • Sue Estridge, Madison County

  • Sandi Sox, Polk County



  • Angela Fraser, NC State University

  • Cheryl Beck, Jackson County

  • Pam Staton, Clay County

  • Jessica Robison, Swain County

  • April Conley, formerly in Cherokee County

  • Latresa Philips, formerly in Graham County

  • Lynda Spivey, formerly in Buncombe County

  • Megan Schaffer, formerly in Henderson County

Canning basics

Canning Basics

Basics of canning

Basics of Canning

  • Food is placed in a jar and heated to a temperature that destroys targeted microorganisms.

  • Heat also inactivates enzymes that cause spoilage.

  • Air is driven from the jar during heating. As the jar cools a vacuum seal is formed.

Basics of Canning

High acid foods ph 4 6

High Acid Foods (pH <4.6)

  • All fruits, except for:

    • figs

    • tomatoes, and

    • melons

  • Fermented pickles, such as sauerkraut

  • Acidified foods, such as pickles

Basics of Canning

Low acid food ph 4 6

Low-acid Food (pH >4.6)

  • All vegetables, except rhubarb

  • Meats

  • Poultry

  • Seafood

  • Soups

  • Mixed canned foods (low-acid + high-acid)

Basics of Canning

Two methods of canning

Two Methods of Canning

Boiling Water Canning -- used for high-acid foods

Pressure Canning -- used for low-acid foods (and some high-acid foods)

Basics of Canning

Why two ways to can

Why Two Ways to Can?

  • Yeast, molds, and most bacteria are destroyed at boiling temperatures -- 212ºF at sea level.

  • C. botulinum forms spores that require higher temperatures for destruction in a reasonable period of time -- usually 240ºF or above at sea level.

Basics of Canning

What makes canned food unsafe

What Makes Canned Food Unsafe?

  • Clostridium botulinum

    • Causes botulism poisoning

    • Found naturally in soil and water.

    • Produce heat-resistant spores that only destroyed by pressure processing.

    • 10-35% of people who get botulism die.

Basics of Canning

Botulism and growth

Botulism and Growth

To grow, the spores need:

  • oxygen-free environment

  • low-acid food

  • temperature between 40ºF to 120ºF

  • relatively high moisture

Basics of Canning

Botulism and growth1

Botulism and Growth

Conditions for C. botulinum to grow can be found in:

  • Home canned foods

  • Smoked fish and sausage

  • Foil-wrapped baked potatoes

  • Packaged mushrooms

  • Pot pies

Basics of Canning

Preventing botulism

Preventing Botulism

  • Spores do not grow in high-acid foods.

  • Spores killed when low-acid foods heated long enough at a specific temperature.

  • Process low-acid foods at 240ºF.

  • Use pressure canner for all low-acid foods.

Basics of Canning

Other ways to prevent botulism

Other Ways to Prevent Botulism

  • Test pressure canner dial gauge for accuracy each year before use.

  • Correctly operate canner.

  • Check canned food carefully before use.

  • If toxin is suspected, detoxify food before discarding. The toxin is destroyed by boiling even though the spores are not.

Basics of Canning

Unsafe canning methods

Unsafe Canning Methods

  • Open Kettle

  • Oven Canning

  • Dishwasher

  • Addition of Aspirin

  • Steam Canners

  • Microwave Oven Canners

Basics of Canning

Boiling water bath

Boiling Water Bath

Used for high-acid foods and acidified foods

Boiling Water Bath

Boiling water bath1

Boiling Water Bath

  • Have water simmering or hot in canner, high enough to cover jars (about six inches).

    • Hot packed jars = simmering water

    • Raw packed jars = warm to hot water

  • Wipe rim of jars and adjust lids.

  • Lower jars slowly into canner.

Basics of Canning

Using a boiling water bath

Using a Boiling Water Bath

  • Place jars on rack in canner.

  • Add more hot water if necessary, once jars are in canner. (Don’t pour hot water directly onto raw-packed jars).

  • Count processing time when water returns to a boil.

  • Remove jars to a padded surface.

  • Cool away from drafts, 12 to 24 hours.

Boiling Water Bath

Pressure canning

Pressure Canning

Used for low-acid foods

Pressure Canning

Inspect your pressure canner

Inspect Your Pressure Canner

  • Some parts might need assembling -- see manufacturer’s directions.

  • Become familiar with parts and their functions.

  • Clean to remove oils.

  • Lightly coat the exposed gasket and lugs on the canner bottom with cooking oil.

  • Before each use be sure vent pipes are clear and open.

Presssure Canning

Using a pressure canner

Using a Pressure Canner

  • Have 2 to 3 inches of water simmering or hot in canner.

    • Hot packed jars = simmering water

    • Raw packed jars = warm to hot water

  • Place jars on rack in canner.

  • Put lid on canner with weight off or petcock open.

Pressure Canning

Home food preservation made easy

  • Exhaust canner for 10 minutes.

  • Close vent or petcock.

  • Start counting processing times when correct pressure is reached.

  • Turn off heat at end of processing.

  • Let pressure drop to 0 psig naturally.

Pressure Canning

Home food preservation made easy

  • Wait 2 minutes after pressure drops to 0 psig. (For some canners, check that locks in handles are released).

  • Remove weight or petcock.

  • Open canner. Watch steam!

  • Remove jars to padded surface or rack.

  • Cool jars for 24 hours, undisturbed.

  • Check that jars have sealed.

Pressure Canning

Process food properly

Process Food Properly

Follow a credible recipe exactly

  • The following slows heat penetration:

    • Extra sugar or fat

    • Oversized food pieces

    • Added thickeners

      Process food properly

  • Heat-up and cool-down times in pressure canners are counted toward sterilizing value of the process. Never rush them.

Pressure Canning

Importance of processing time

Importance of Processing Time

  • Each food and preparation style has its own processing time.

  • Processing time differs with size of jar.

  • Too short

    • Underprocessing

    • Spoilage or unsafe food

  • Too long

    • Overprocessing

    • Overcooked

Pressure Canning

What affects processing time

What Affects Processing Time

  • Acidity of the food

  • Preparation style of the food

  • Composition of the food

    - Viscosity

    - Tightness of pack

    - Convection vs. conduction transfer of heat

    - Starches, fats, bones

  • Initial temperature of food as it is packed into jar

  • Temperature of processing

  • Size and shape of jar

Pressure Canning

Altitude adjustments

Altitude Adjustments

  • As altitude increases, the temperature decreases at a given pressure.

  • Dial-gauge processing changes:

    • 0-2000 feet = 11 pounds pressure

    • 2001-4000 feet = 12 pounds pressure

    • 4001-6000 feet = 13 pounds pressure

    • 6001-8000 feet = 14 pounds pressure

Pressure Canning

Home food preservation made easy

  • Weighted gauge adjustments

    • 0-1000 feet = 10 pounds pressure

    • At altitudes above 1000 feet, process at 15 pounds pressure.

  • Boiling water canner adjustments

    • Generally, the processing time will increase.

    • Use a credible resource to determine processing time.

Pressure Canning

Canning equipment

Canning Equipment

Proper equipment is essential to a safe product.


Canning jars

Canning Jars

  • Check jars for nicks, cracks, and rough edges.

  • Wash in soapy water, rinse well, and keep hot.

  • If food is processed for less than 10 minutes, need to be sterilized.

  • Do not use single-use jars, such as mayonnaise and tomato sauce jars, to process food at home.


Canning lids

Canning Lids

  • Use two-piece lids.

  • Flat lid cannot be reused but the ring band can.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for treating them.


Preparing and packing food

Preparing and Packing Food

Preparing and Packing

Raw pack

Raw Pack

  • For foods that lose shape when cooked.

  • Place raw food directly in jars. Boiling hot liquid is then poured over the food.

  • Pack firmly, don’t crush.

  • Add jars carefully to warm canner to avoid breakage from heat shock.

  • Follow a reliable recipe.

Preparing and Packing

Hot pack

Hot Pack

  • Preferred method for most foods.

  • Food is cooked in liquid before packing. Cooking liquid is then poured over food in jar.

  • Fewer jars needed.

  • Less floating of food and better color and flavor.

  • Foods easier to pack.

  • Kills some microorganisms.

Preparing and Packing



  • Space in the jar between the inside of the lid and the top of the food or its liquid.

  • Check canning directions to determine the correct headspace for each food.

  • Usually:

    • 1/4” for jellies

    • 1/2” for high-acid foods, such as fruits, tomatoes, and pickles

    • 1” to 1-1/4” for low-acid foods

Preparing and Packing

Problems with headspace

Problems with Headspace

Too little:

  • Food may bubble out during processing.

  • Deposit on rim may prevent proper sealing.

    Too much:

  • Food at the top is likely to discolor.

  • Jar may not seal properly, because processing time not long enough to drive all the air from inside the jar.

Preparing and Packing

Before sealing jars

Before Sealing Jars

  • Remove air bubbles.

  • Re-adjust headspace if necessary.

  • Wipe jar rims.

  • Adjust two-piece lids, fingertip-tight.

Preparing and Packing

Jams and jellies

Jams and Jellies

Jams and Jellies

Types of jams and jelly

Types of Jams and Jelly

  • Jam

  • Jelly

  • Marmalade

  • Preserves

  • Conserves

  • Butter

Jams and Jellies

Home food preservation made easy


Made from strained fruit juice.

Should be clear and sparkling.

Gelled enough to hold its shape outside the jar, yet soft enough to spread easily.

Forms sharp angle when cut.


Made by cooking crushed or chopped fruits with sugar until the mixture will round up on a spoon.

Can be made with one or more fruits.

Should be firm but spreadable.

Does not hold the shape of the jar.

Jams and Jellies

Home food preservation made easy


Fruits preserved with sugar so that the fruit retains its shape

Is clear, shiny, tender and plump

Syrup is clear and varies from the thickness of honey to that of soft jelly


Tender jelly with small pieces of fruit or citrus peels distributed evenly throughout

Jams and Jellies

Home food preservation made easy


Jam-like product made by cooking two or more fruits with sugar until it. roundups on a spoon or flakes from it.

A true conserve contains nuts and raisins.


Cook fruit pulp and sugar to thick consistency.

Add spices -- amount and variety vary.

Cook slowly after sugar is added until thick enough to round up on a spoon.

Process pulp in a food mill and strain through a fine-meshed sieve.

Jams and Jellies

Essential ingredients

Essential Ingredients

  • Fruit

  • Pectin

  • Acid

  • Sugar

Jams and Jellies



  • Provides flavor

  • Furnishes pectin and acid for gelling

  • 1 pound fruit = 1 cup juice

  • Use top quality fruit

Jams and Jellies



  • Natural substance found in varying amounts in fruits that causes jelly to gel.

  • Slightly under-ripe fruit contains more pectin than fully ripe fruit.

  • When making soft spreads without added pectin, use ¼ under-ripe and ¾ ripe.

Jams and Jellies

Fruits high in pectin

Fruits High in Pectin

  • Tart Apples

  • Concord Grapes

  • Sour Blackberries

  • Cranberries

  • Currants

  • Gooseberries

  • Quinces

  • Sour Plums

Jams and Jellies

Fruits low in pectin

Fruits Low in Pectin

  • Apricots

  • Blueberries

  • Cherries

  • Peaches

  • Pineapple

  • Rhubarb

  • Strawberries

Jams and Jellies

Commercial pectin

Commercial Pectin

  • Liquid

    • added to mixture after all other ingredients have been brought to a boil.

  • Powdered

    • stirred into the fruit and brought to a boil before the sugar is added.

  • Purchase fresh pectin each year.

Jams and Jellies

Why use commercial pectin

Why Use Commercial Pectin?

  • More jelly produced from the fruit

  • Better color

  • Less chance of failure

  • Shorter cooking time

Jams and Jellies

Home food preservation made easy


  • Needed for gel formation.

  • Under-ripe fruits have more acid.

  • Commercial pectin contains some acid.

Jams and Jellies



  • Contributes to flavor.

  • Helps in gel formation.

  • Serves as preserving agent.

Jams and Jellies

Sugar substitutes

Sugar Substitutes

  • Light Corn Syrup

  • Honey

Jams and Jellies

Artificial sweeteners

Artificial Sweeteners

  • Cannot be interchanged for sugar in recipes

  • Use a recipe that specifies an artificial sweetener or lower-sugar pectin product

Jams and Jellies

Other ingredients

Other Ingredients

  • Spices

  • Nuts

  • Flavoring

Jams and Jellies

Equipment and utensils

Equipment and Utensils

  • Large Saucepot

  • Food Scale

  • Jelly Thermometer

  • Jelly Bag

  • Spice bag

  • Kitchen timer

  • Skimmer

  • Slotted spoon

  • Funnel

  • Jars or containers

Jams and Jellies

Gelling tests plate test

Gelling Tests – Plate Test

  • Place small amount on chilled plate.

  • Set plate in freezer until cooled to room temperature.

  • If mixture is set, put in jars.

Jams and Jellies

Gelling tests thermometer

Gelling Tests -- Thermometer

  • Determine gelling point for your elevation.

  • Establish the boiling point of water then add 8oF for the gelling point.

  • Hold thermometer vertical; read at eye level.

  • Remove from heat when gelling point reached.

Jams and Jellies

Gelling test sheeting

Gelling Test - Sheeting

  • Dip cool metal spoon in boiling jelly.

  • Lift out spoonful of mixture, away from steam

  • Tip spoon over a dish so juice will drop off

  • Gelling point reached when sheets off spoon

Jams and Jellies

Special tips

Special Tips

  • Use reliable recipes and follow directions carefully.

  • Measure ingredients carefully.

  • Never reduce amount of sugar or double the recipe.

  • Do not squeeze the jelly bag.

  • Use large sauce pans for cooking.

  • Cook as quickly as possible.

  • Cook longer in high humidity.

  • Process after packing.

Jams and Jellies



Includes fresh-pack and fermented fruits and vegetables

Types of pickles

Types of Pickles

  • Brined or Fermented Pickles

  • Fresh Pack or Quick Process Pickles

  • Fruit Pickles

  • Relishes




  • High quality produce

  • Salt

  • Vinegar

  • Sugar

  • Spices

  • Water

  • Firming Agents



Brining container


Large glass jars

Food-grade plastic


Stainless Steel







Other equipment

Other Equipment

  • Measuring spoons

  • Measuring cups

  • Sharp knives

  • Large trays

  • Tongs

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Ladle


Other equipment1

Other Equipment

  • Slotted Spoon

  • Footed Colander or Wire Basket

  • Large Mouth Funnel

  • Food Chopper or Grinder

  • Cutting Board

  • Large Spoons

  • Household Scales





How freezing affects food

How Freezing Affects Food

Chemical changes

  • Enzymes in vegetables

  • Enzymes in fruit

  • Rancidity

    Texture Changes

  • Expansion of food

  • Ice crystals


Advantages of freezing

Most foods can be frozen.

Natural color, flavor, and nutritive value retained.

Texture usually better than other methods of food preservation.

Foods can be frozen in less time than they can be dried or canned.

Simple procedures.

Adds convenience to food preparation.

Proportions can be adapted to needs unlike other home preservation methods.

Kitchen remains cool and comfortable.

Advantages of Freezing


Disadvantages of freezing

Disadvantages of Freezing

  • Texture of some foods is undesirable because of freezing process.

  • Initial investment and cost of maintaining freezer is high.

  • Storage space limited by capacity of freezer.


Shelf life of vegetables









Length of Storage

1 year

5 months

2 months

1 month

2 weeks

1 week

3 days

Shelf-life of Vegetables


Freezing tips

Freezing Tips

Freeze foods quickly

  • Set freezer temperature at -10ºF at least 24 hours before freezing foods.

  • Spread packages out until frozen, then stack.

  • Store at 0ºF or colder for best quality.


Freezing tips1

Freezing Tips

  • Freeze foods at <0ºF (24 before freezing foods set freezer at -10ºF).

  • Freeze foods immediately.

  • Do not overload freezer with unfrozen food. Freeze amount that will freeze in 24 hours -- 2 to 3 pounds of food per cubic foot.

  • Pack already frozen foods together so they do not thaw.


Freezing tips2

Freezing Tips

  • Place unfrozen foods in contact with surfaces and in coldest parts of freezer.

  • Arrange food so air can circulate.

  • When food is frozen, organize freezer by types of food.

  • Arrange frozen foods so that the foods frozen longer can be used first.

  • Keep a current frozen foods inventory.

  • Check freezer temperature periodically.


Selecting a freezer

Selecting a Freezer


  • Size

  • Shape

  • Efficiency

  • Defrosting features

  • Available floor area

  • Amount of freezer space needed


Determining size you need

Determining Size You Need

  • General Rule

    • Allow 6 cubic feet of freezer space per person (3 cubic feet per person might be adequate if other methods of food preservation are used).

  • Standard Freezer

    • Capacity -- 35 pounds of frozen food per cubic foot or usable space.


Types of freezers

Types of Freezers


  • 6 to 22 cubic feet

  • Convenient

  • Uses small floor space

  • Easy to load and unload


  • 6 to32 cubic feet

  • Takes more floor space

  • More economical to buy and to operate than upright

  • Less air loss when opened


Home food preservation made easy

Refrigerator/Freezer Combination

  • 2 to 6 cubic feet

  • Be sure can set temperature at 0ºF or colder

  • Freezer can be above, below, or beside refrigerator area

  • Other features

    • Self defrosting or manual defrost

    • Receptacle clips - prevent accidental disconnecting

    • Door locks & drains for defrosting


Location and placement

Location and Placement

  • Place in convenient, cool, dry, well-ventilated area.

  • Do not place by stove, range, water heater or in the sun.

  • Do not push flush against wall. Leave space for air circulation and cleaning.

  • Be sure freezer is level.


General freezing instructions

General Freezing Instructions


  • Freezing does not improve quality.

  • Choose the highest quality available.

  • Freeze promptly.

  • Remember some foods do not freeze well.


  • Work under sanitary conditions.

  • Follow recommended procedures.


Freezer packaging

Freezer Packaging

  • Moisture-vapor resistant

  • Durable and leak-proof

  • Not become brittle and crack at low temperatures.

  • Protects foods from absorption of off-flavors or odors

  • Easy to seal and mark


Types of packaging

Types of Packaging

  • Rigid Containers

    • Plastic freezer containers

    • Freezer boxes with liners

    • Coffee canisters

    • Wide mouth canning/freezing jars

  • Good for liquids, soft, juicy, or liquid-packed foods

  • May be reusable

  • Hold their shape and can be stored upright


Home food preservation made easy

Non-Rigid Containers

  • Bags

  • Wrappings - cellophane, heavy-duty aluminum foil, polyethylene, laminated paper

    Good for firm, non-juicy foods


Packing foods

Packing Foods

  • Cool food before freezing -- ice bath

  • Pack in serving size quantities -- usually up to 1 quart

  • Pack foods tightly.

  • Allow for some headspace -- vegetables like broccoli and asparagus, bony pieces of meat, tray packed foods, and breads, do not need any headspace.


Home food preservation made easy

  • Press all air from bagged foods, seal bags by twisting and then folding over loose edge (gooseneck). Secure with string, twist-tie or rubber band.

  • Use tight lid on rigid containers and keep sealing edge clean. Use freezer tape on loose fitting covers.




  • Name of product

  • Added ingredients

  • Form of food: halves, whole, or ground

  • Packing date

  • Number of servings or amount


Packing fruits

Packing Fruits

Syrup Pack

  • Better texture

  • Not needed for safety

  • Cover fruit with syrup -- place crumpled water-resistant paper in top of container

    Sugar Pack

  • Soft sliced fruits (strawberries, peaches) make on syrup when mixed with the right proportion of sugar.

  • Layer fruit and sugar.

  • Allow to stand for 15 minutes.


Home food preservation made easy

Dry Pack

  • Good for small whole fruits such as berries that do not need sugar.

  • Simply pack into containers and freeze.

  • Can freeze on a tray first, so pour easily.

    Pectin Syrup

  • Good for strawberries and peaches.

  • Mix one package powdered pectin with one cup water.

  • Bring to boil, boil 1 minute.

  • Remove from heat, cool, and add 1-3/4 cups more water.


Home food preservation made easy

Water or Unsweetened Juice Packs

  • Texture will be mushier.

  • Color poorer.

  • Freezes harder, takes longer to thaw.

    Packs for Purees or Juices

  • Pack as is, with or without sugar.

  • Add ascorbic acid if light-colored.


Home food preservation made easy

Packing with Artificial Sweeteners

  • Can be used in the pectin syrup, juice, or water packs.

  • Or could be added just before serving

  • Do not help with color retention or texture, like sugar does.

  • Use amounts on product labels.


Preventing fruit darkening

Preventing Fruit Darkening

  • Use one of the following:

    • 1 teaspoon (3000 mg) ascorbic acid to one gallon of water

    • Commercial ascorbic acid mixture

    • Steaming the fruit

  • The following do not work as well:

    • Citric acid solution

    • Lemon juice

    • Sugar syrup

    • Salt/vinegar solution


Home food preservation made easy

Ascorbic Acid

  • Most economical.

  • Use powdered or tablet form.

  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ascorbic acid = 1500 mg

  • Crush tablets well.

  • Use amount specified for each fruit.

  • In syrup or liquid packs, add powder to liquid.

  • In sugar or dry packs, dissolve 2 to 3 tablespoons in cold water and sprinkle over fruit.

  • For crushed fruit, purees or juices, mix with fruit about 1/8 teaspoon per quart.


Home food preservation made easy

Ascorbic Acid Mixtures

  • Follow package directions


  • Best for fruits that will be cooked before use

  • Follow directions in freezing publications


Freezing vegetables

Freezing Vegetables

  • Select young, tender, high-quality vegetables.

  • Sort for size and ripeness.

  • Wash and drain before removing skins or shells.

  • Wash small lots at a time, lifting out of water. Do not soak.

  • Work in small quantities, preparing per instructions.


Blanching vegetables

Blanching Vegetables

  • Blanch to prevent flavor and color changes.

  • Blanch using water or steam.

  • Water blanching

    • Use 1 gallon water per pound of vegetables.

    • Place vegetables in blanching basket.

    • Lower into vigorously boiling water.

    • Cover and begin timing.


Home food preservation made easy

Steam Blanching

  • Use kettle with tight lid and basket.

  • Put 1 to 2 inches of boiling water in the bottom of pan.

  • Vegetables should be in a single layer in basket.

  • Start timing when covered.

  • Takes 1-1/2 times longer than water blanching.


Home food preservation made easy

Microwave Blanching (not recommended)

  • Enzymes might not be inactivated.

  • Does not save time or energy.

  • Use specific directions and blanch small quantities at a time.

  • After blanching, cool immediately in cold water.

  • Change water frequently.


Packing vegetables

Packing Vegetables

Dry Pack

  • Pack after blanched, cooled, and drained.

  • Pack quickly, excluding air.

    Tray Pack

  • After draining, spread in a single layer on a shallow pan.

  • Freeze firm.

  • After first hour, check often.

  • Pack quickly, excluding air.


Freezing meats and poultry

Freezing Meats and Poultry

  • Keep meat or poultry and everything they touch as clean as possible.

  • Keep cold until frozen.

  • Never stuff poultry before freezing.

  • Store-bought meats must be over-wrapped.

  • Freeze meats and poultry using the drugstore or butcher wrap (drugstore wrap preferred except for irregular meat cuts).


Freezing fish

Freezing Fish

  • Pre-treat as directed to control rancidity, flavor changes or loss of liquid.

  • Package using one of the following:

    • Lemon-gelatin glaze

    • Ice glaze

    • Water


Home food preservation made easy

Lemon-gelatin glaze

  • Mix 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1-3/4 cups water.

  • Dissolve 1 packet unflavored gelatin into 1/2 cup of this mixture.

  • Heat remaining mixture to boiling and add dissolved gelatin.

  • Cool, dip fish, wrap and freeze.


Freezing prepared foods

Freezing Prepared Foods

  • Many can be frozen.

  • Follow directions in a credible freezer publication.


Thawing fruit

Thawing Fruit

  • Best if served with ice crystals present.

  • Thaw:

    • In refrigerator -- 6 to 8 hours per pound of fruit in syrup

    • At room temperature -- 1 to 2 hours per pound

    • At room temperature in cool water -- 1/2 to 1 hour per pound

    • In microwave oven - follow manufacturer’s instructions.


Home food preservation made easy

  • Dry sugar packs thaw faster than syrup packs.

  • Unsweetened packs thaw the slowest.

  • When used in recipes, allow for added sugar and more juice.




  • Thaw:

    • In refrigerator

    • In microwave oven (follow manufacturer’s directions)

    • In cold water (keep water cold)

  • Vegetables

    • Cook without thawing except partially thaw corn-on-the-cob and leafy greens.

  • Meats, Fish, Poultry

    • Can be cooked when thawed or frozen (might take 1-1/2 times longer if cooked frozen).


Freezer emergencies

Freezer Emergencies

  • If power will be off, set freezer controls to 10ºF to -20ºF immediately.

  • Do not open door.

  • Foods stay frozen longer if freezer is full, well-insulated, and in cool area.

    • Full freezer -- keeps 2 to 4 days

    • Half full freezer -- 24 hours


Home food preservation made easy

  • If power interruption longer than 1 to 2 days, use dry ice:

    • 50 lbs -- keeps full 20 cubic foot freezer below freezing for 3 to 4 days

    • 50 lbs -- keeps half-full freezer for 2 to 3 days

  • Keep dry ice on boards or heavy cardboard on top of food.

  • Do not touch dry ice.

  • Do not open freezer.

  • Ventilate room.


Refreezing thawed foods

Refreezing Thawed Foods

  • Refreeze potentially hazardous food if:

    • freezer temperature is 40ºF or colder or

    • if ice crystals are still present.

  • Texture will not be as good.

    • Product might be mushy


Drying foods

Drying Foods


History of drying

History of Drying

  • One of the oldest methods of food preservation.

  • Practiced by nomadic peoples of the Middle East and Asia

  • Dried foods are light, take little space, and don’t need refrigeration.

  • Dried foods are ideal for traveling-camping, backpacking.


How drying preserves food

How Drying Preserves Food

  • Drying removes moisture from food so bacteria, yeasts, and molds cannot grow and spoil the food.

  • Drying also slows the action of enzymes, but does not kill them.


Advantages of drying

Advantages of Drying

  • Simple, safe, and easy

  • No special equipment


Methods of drying

Methods of Drying

  • Sun or Solar Drying

  • Vine Drying

  • Room Drying

  • Oven Drying

  • Dehydrators


Sun drying

Sun Drying

  • Temperature – 85oF or higher

  • Low humidity

  • Several days of sunny weather

  • 2 drying racks or screens on blocks

  • Cover for the foods at night


Solar drying

Solar Drying

  • Uses a specially designed dehydrator to increase temperature and air current to speed up sun drying.

  • Solar dryers use a reflectant, such as aluminum foil or glass, to increase the sun’s temperature. Air vents at each end increase the flow of air.

  • Get directions for making a solar dryer from your county Extension Agent.


Vine drying

Vine Drying

  • Pasteurization

  • Sun-dried fruits and vine-dried beans need treatment to kill insects/eggs.

  • Freezer Method-seal food in freezer bags. Place in freezer at 0oF or low for at least 48 hours.

  • Oven Method-place food in single layer on tray. Heat in 160oF oven for 30 minutes.


Oven drying

Oven Drying

  • Little or no investment in equipment

  • Not dependent on weather

  • Ovens can dry most foods


Disadvantages of oven drying

Disadvantages of Oven Drying

  • Cost of energy used

  • Food is usually darker, more brittle, and less flavorful

  • Time required to dry foods


Electric dehydrator features

Electric Dehydrator Features

  • Double wall construction; metal or high grade plastic

  • Enclosed heating elements

  • Enclosed thermostat with dial control, from 85-160oF

  • Timer

  • Fan or blower

  • 4 to 10 open mesh trays-sturdy, easy-wash, plastic

  • UL seal of approval


Equipment for drying

Equipment for Drying

  • Sharp paring knife

  • Colander/Steamer

  • Cutting board

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Food processor/vegetable slicer

  • Blender

  • Measuring utensils




  • Select high quality produce

  • Wash and core

  • Leave whole, half, or slice in equal pieces

  • Select an appropriate pretreatment

  • Whichever drying method you use, be sure to place in a single layer on the drying trays.

  • Pieces should not touch or overlap.

  • Follow directions for your drying method until dry.





  • Sulfuring

  • Ascorbic Acid

  • Fruit Juice Dip

  • Honey Dip

  • Syrup Blanching

  • Steam Blanching


  • Blanching


Testing for dryness

Testing for Dryness


  • Brittle

  • Flake when crushed


  • No visible moisture

  • Pliable, but not sticky or tacky

  • Folded in half–doesn’t stick to itself

  • Berries should rattle


Packaging and storing

Packaging and Storing

  • Cool 30-60 minutes

  • Pack loosely in plastic or glass jars

  • Seal containers tightly

  • Store in cool, dark place

  • Dried fruit needs conditioning (allow fruit to stand for 7-10 days, shake daily) Check moisture condensation!


Using dried foods

Using Dried Foods

  • Dried fruits are delicious as a snack (try making some dried fruit leather) or in many prepared dishes.

  • Dried vegetables are also good in recipes when re-hydrated.

  • Dried fruits and vegetables are a good way to store emergency food.


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