Welcome to the Let's Preserve blog! Brought to you by Penn State Cooperative Extension, you will find the latest on preserving safe, high quality food at home. The information included is based on up-to-date research from the U.S. Dept of Agriculture and Cooperative Extension.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Finding Canning Directions on the Internet

The Internet has opened up a world of information for us right from our home! It's a great source of food preservation information. Unfortunately, it's also a great source of information that may not be based on fact. So how do you know if what you find can be used to preserve safe, high quality food?

It's important to use canning directions and recipes that are based on current research. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) takes the lead in recommending canning directions and recipes. These have been scientifically tested, usually in University laboratories. Special equipment is used to determine recommended canning methods and processing times and pressures.

A good website to start your search for information is the Penn State Food Preservation website http://extension.psu.edu/food-safety/food-preservation. Here you will find canning directions and recipes and links to the latest information on home canning and other ways of preserving food. Some of what you'll find includes:

  • Link to USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning

  • Link to the National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP)

  • Link to University of Georgia's So Easy to Preserve book and DVD on canning, freezing and drying

  • Penn State Let's Preserve Fact Sheets

  • List of sources of supplies and ingredients

  • Food preservation questions and answers

  • Link to Food Preservation Basics, a free interactive tutorial on home canning from NCHFP

  • Link to current issue of Ball Blue Book

  • An elevation finder

  • List of county extension food preservation contacts

And much more!

In addition to the above sources, other university extension sites should provide reliable information. Recent editions of Ball publications such as the Blue Book and Complete Book of Home Preserving are research-based.

How do you know if a web source is not providing reliable information? Here are some red flags. If you find any of these go to another source.

  • Be suspicious of short cuts.

  • Directions for canning non-pickled vegetables and meats in other than a pressure canner.

  • The recipe was 'made-up' or changed by the person providing the information.

  • The recipe is said to be an old family recipe.

  • The source says it is okay to process jars in the oven, dishwasher, or appliance other than pressure or boiling water canner.

  • Instructions say to pour hot food into jars and put on lids with no processing.

Keep your family safe and provide tasty home canned foods by using up-to-date research-based directions and recipes!