Many gardens are in full bloom at this time of the year, and citizens across California and the country might take the opportunity to start the process of home canning with fresh produce. However, one must always take the precautions to ensure that foodborne illness doesn’t get canned along with all other ingredients. A new report explains how to stave off such a threat.
Your first precautions should be those that you take with any type of food preparation. Any surface that you prepare food on needs to be sanitized, as do your various utensils and your hands. Otherwise you put yourself at a disadvantage before you even start. The food itself also has to be as fresh as possible, whether you’re picking it from your garden or purchasing it from a vendor.
The cans you use similarly need to be properly cleaned prior to placing anything inside, and they should be examined carefully so that you can identify potential wear and tear that could indicate a structural weakness. Cracks and other damage should prompt you to move to a different can or lid. All lids should be new rather than used, as a lid that has previously been used for canning could allow contaminants inside.
Canners needs to ensure that the recipe itself isn’t going to contribute to a potential illness. Many older instructions or those gleaned from personal blogs might not adhere to the latest safety recommendations as stipulated by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. And when you do alight upon the perfect recipe, don’t deviate. Non-adherence to the proper preparatory instructions could leave your food privy to a foodborne illness. That also means that there needs to be the same amount of space at the top of the can as what is suggested by the recipe you’re going to follow.
Affixing the lid is perhaps the most important step to the canning process. All equipment you use to place the lid atop the can needs to be clean and in perfect condition. Once the lid has been set, you should set the can aside and come back the next day to check and make sure that no seams have popped up that could allow air inside.
If not, you have a couple options. You can abandon the canning of that particular item, placing it in the fridge to eat soon. Or, if you notice the lid deficiency quickly enough, you can put a new lid on and attempt to salvage the canning experience. All items need to be marked with the date of preparation and stored someplace where it’s sufficiently cool.