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Lois Mauk

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The times are changing and so should you. Safe home canning

by Lois Mauk » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:01 pm

You may have heard that a 54-year-old woman near Columbus, Ohio died this week and 23 others have been hospitalized from botulism (a very severe form of food poisoning). Tonight, it’s been announced by the CDC that the food poisoning happened at a church potluck dinner and, in the last hour or so, they’ve announced that the source of the botulism was home canned foods, apparently green beans.
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories ... cases.html

I know that the person who processed and served that food has to be absolutely devastated by this. He/she can certainly use your prayers as well as all the people affected by this outbreak.

Friends, I know some of you can produce from your gardens and from the market. If you are still canning the way your mother or grandmother taught you, PLEASE realize that canning techniques have changed a lot over the past several decades and even the past couple of years. They’ve even changed the way we store our canned foods (i.e., now we know that you must always remove the bands from your processed foods and never stack one jar on top of another).

Acidic foods like most tomato products, pickles and most fruits can still be done in boiling water baths the way our mothers and grandmothers did it. But, canning low-acid foods such as green beans, potatoes, corn, carrots, dried beans, asparagus, meats, stock, etc. must be done in a pressure canner!

I don’t care if your mom canned green beans by boiling them for hours in a huge pot! It’s not hot enough to destroy botulism spores! I also don’t care if your grandmother did vegetables the old-fashioned way and “nobody ever died”! That’s simply not true and, as we see in the situation this week in a church in Ohio, it’s simply irresponsible to take that kind of risks with the health and lives of your family and friends.

There are also a huge variety of dangerous and irresponsible recipes, videos and ideas posted on the internet that are disasters waiting to happen. Please be very careful in following any techniques you’ve used in the past or ideas you come upon on the web. I recommend that you rely on certain reliable stand-bys such as the newest edition of the Ball Blue Book (which underwent a significant updating in the last few years).

If you have any questions whatsoever about the techniques you’ve been using to preserve foods or if you are curious about the possibilities of home food preservation, visit the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation:
http://nchfp.uga.edu/

I also recommend the “Safe Canning By The Book On Debbie's Back Porch” group on Facebook.

If you want to learn how to safely can low-acid foods using a pressure canner, please let me know. I will be happy to help you learn how to can safely! It’s really quite easy and very, very rewarding.

I can also share with you excellent resources to explain why the “old ways” are no longer considered safe and to help you learn exciting new techniques for preserving all kinds of foods.
Make a fast friend . . . Adopt a retired racer from Greyhound Pets of America!
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Robin Garr

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Re: The times are changing and so should you. Safe home can

by Robin Garr » Wed Apr 22, 2015 9:18 pm

Lois, thanks for taking the time to share that possibly life-saving information. I think it's important enough that I copied it into the main restaurants forum. Even though it's not strictly restaurant-related, it's important to everyone who cares about food, so I thought it should be shared with a broader audience.

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