Home Food Preservation Demonstrations

— Written By Renay Knapp and last updated by
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As a Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent, I often hear “we’ve always done it this way”… or “my grandmother canned her food this way for years and never got sick by eating it.”  This may be true, but through research, we are finding that many of those “old” methods are not safe.

One “old” method is canning vegetables in a hot water bath. High acid foods, including most fruits, soft spreads, and pickles, contain enough acid to prevent the growth of the bacteria that cause botulism poisoning. These foods can safely be preserved by processing in a hot water bath, which reaches 212°F. Low acid foods, like vegetables and meat products, contain very little or no acid and must be processed in a pressure canner, which reaches 240°F.

The problem with canning low acid foods in a hot water bath is that Clostridium botulinum may forms heat-resistant spores. These spores require a higher temperature for destruction at a reasonable period of time at 240°F. C. botulinum causes botulism, which results in digestive upset (in some cases), blurred or double vision, difficulty swallowing, speaking, and breathing, and even death.

One thing that we recommended is to have your dial gauge pressure canner lid tested each year. This is a free service for you. All you need to do is to bring your lid with the gauge to the N.C. Cooperative Extension Transylvania County Center. I will check the gauge when next in the office and call you with the results.
If you have not taken any food preservation classes recently, consider joining us at the Transylvania County Center, 106 E. Morgan Street in Brevard for some of the demonstration classes listed below.

Costs for the classes are $15 per person and class size is limited to six people, but the class will also be offered at that time via Zoom.
Pre-registration is necessary through Eventbrite.

  • Food Preservation by Fermentation Demonstration Friday, October 23rd, 2-3:30 p.m. Register online

For more information on classes or food preservation, contact Renay Knapp at 828.884.3109.