Learn to preserve your summer harvest safely

By Beth Stefura

OSU Extension Educator

Whether your garden is large or small or you shop at a local Farmer’s Market, gardeners are often interested in extending the season’s bounty by learning more about home- preserving fruits and vegetables. OSU Extension is here to help.

Besides all of the information on growing, we have lots of information to help you preserve the fruit of your work — everything from freezing to canning, and making jellies to pickling.

Is there a difference between using a boiling water bath and a pressure canner? This is a question often asked at the Extension office. Yes, I must say there is a big difference. You should not use a boiling water bath for low-acid vegetables. Botulinum spores can survive this method. Our fact sheets have details on the recommended methods of canning for many different types of fruits and vegetables.

How do you know if the canned items are spoiled? This is one of the other most common questions received. Any jars that have bulging lids, ones that make a loud spurt when opened, leaking jars and related signs tell you that the food inside is not good.

We recommend you attend a workshop to learn the complete research-based methods of canning and preserving foods from the garden. Our Freezing and Canning Workshop will focus on the basics of home canning and preservation and are appropriate for people with all levels of experience. The next workshop will be Aug. 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. at McMahon Hall, Mill Creek MetroParks Farm, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield, Road, across from Canfield Fairgrounds, in Canfield.

The cost is $15. Reserve your spot by calling Mahoning County OSU Extension at 330-533-5538. Participants will receive a complete packet of handouts to get started in the proper procedures to preserve food in the correct ways to help you extend the harvest throughout next winter.

Our complete list of fact sheets to help you preserve your garden’s bounty are free at http://go.osu.edu/foodpreserve.

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