HANCOCK COUNTY — Summer is here, gardens are starting to produce, berries are being picked and people are thinking about preserving some of the great-tasting fresh produce to use later in the year.
While people have been processing vegetables for years, some of the methods have been found to be less than ideal. It is important that you read and follow the most up-to-date information available.
One of the respected guides to food preservation is prepared by the USDA and is available through the Extension office. It explains the best methods to preserve almost all types of foods.
In addition, did you know that Purdue Extension has a variety of brochures that are available for free and can easily be downloaded on your computer? Each brochure contains the most up-to-date information about preserving foods at home.
“Let’s preserve” topics include basics of home canning, freezing vegetables, meats and poultry, tomatoes, drying fruits and vegetables, cherries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples, fruit pie fillings, jellies, jams, spreads, drying herbs, peppers, snap beans, sauerkraut and quick-process pickles.
To access these brochures, go to extension.purdue.edu and type “Education Store” in the search box.
There are hundreds of other materials available at the same site on a wide range of topics. Any item that says free download can be printed at home at no cost. Brochures and the opportunity to get your pressure gauge checked are also available at the Hancock County Purdue Extension office.
When canning food at home, always follow the approved methods. Research has shown that some of the methods that were used for years are no longer considered safe to use. Just because Grandma did it 50 years ago does not mean it is a safe practice.
If you are going to invest your time and effort, as well as the cost of the produce, be sure you preserve it safely.
Enjoy the fruits of the harvest, both now and next winter as well.