Summer food safety tips

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Summer is a time for enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables and outdoor picnics. Don’t let food safety mistakes spoil the fun.Food safety doesn’t begin in the kitchen, or even the market, says Londa Nwadike, extension food safety specialist for the University of Missouri and Kansas State University.

When the power goes out, don’t be in the dark about food safety

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When the power goes out, the clock starts ticking on the safety of your refrigerated and frozen foods.Meats, seafood, ice cream, cut produce and even leftover pizza can become susceptible to foodborne contaminants in just a few hours, said Londa Nwadike, food safety extension specialist for the University of Missouri and Kansas State University.

More time in the kitchen makes it a good time to review food safety

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – People staying home because of the COVID-19 outbreak likely means more time in the kitchen. Now might be a perfect time to learn or review safe food handling practices aimed at keeping foodborne illnesses at bay, says University of Missouri Extension food safety specialist Londa Nwadike.Four main food safety concepts are clean, chill, separate and cook.

Freezing offers milk lovers an option for stocking up

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Freezing offers milk drinkers a way to keep nutritious milk on hand at all times, says University of Missouri Extension dairy specialist Reagan Bluel. She works with producers in the heart of southwestern Missouri dairy land.

Choose a pressure canner to safely preserve foods

With each year’s growing season, there seems to be another round of “new and improved” kitchen gadgets to make preserving the harvest easier and better. Some can be a great help; others, like the electric multi-cooker appliances, may not result in the safe canned product one might be expecting.

Blanch vegetables before freezing

Every fresh sweet corn season I hear people telling others to preserve their corn by just putting it in the freezer. Unless you are freezing onions or green peppers, blanching is a must before freezing vegetables.

Issues with canning on ceramic or glass stovetops

A common question about canning foods is, “Is it OK to can on my ceramic or glass stovetop?”First, check the recommendations of the particular stove’s manufacturer. Some say absolutely not, while others say it is OK, but with certain stipulations.

Get ready for home canning season

When you plant your garden, it’s so easy to imagine all of the great tasting, healthy food that will come from those tiny seeds and plants. Many people grow not only enough to eat during the summer but enough so they can preserve those garden delights for cold winter nights. Spring is a great time to make sure your canning gear is ready for production when your garden starts producing more than you can eat.

Packing perfect pickles

It can be very rewarding to serve your family and guests your very own homemade pickles. Whether you are a novice or experienced pickle maker there are things to keep in mind when making your pickled products. Below are several questions that we have received at the Extension office with the correct answers:

Preserving fruit salsas

Tomato-based salsas have been popular for years for food preservers, but there is a new twist on this favorite — fruit salsas. “Most fruit salsas are preserved to be used with meats, poultry and fish,” said Susan Mills-Gray, nutrition/health specialist with MU Extension. “The fruit, herbs and heat of onion or pepper, as well as the vibrant colors adds zest to meals.”

Many ways to preserve garden green beans

There are many ways you can preserve green beans so you are eating your garden’s bounty all winter long. Most people can or freeze extra green beans, but you could also pickle or dry them for some interesting off-season eating.

Making fruit leather

A great way to preserve extra fruit or fruit with bumps, bruises or knots is to make fruit leather.The National Center for Home Food Preservation at University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has helpful directions for making fruit leather:

Get the best results when freezing your produce

Many people enjoy planting gardens and eating fresh, homegrown produce in the summer. For people who want to preserve their garden vegetables and eat them another time, freezing is a viable option. The color, flavor and texture of the produce is often maintained when it is frozen, and the freezing process is easy and less time consuming than canning.

Pack a perfect pickle

Pickling is a different way to enjoy cucumbers and is often an easy process, but there are some important things to know to assure pickles are safe to eat.The main ingredients used for pickling are acid, salt, sugar and spices. Lime and alum are also sometimes used to make crisper pickles.

Prevent botulism from home-canned foods

Microorganisms all around us can cause food spoilage — they are in the air and soil, and on people and animals. Many microorganisms are difficult to get rid of, including Clostridium botulinum — the bacteria that causes botulism. Botulism is rare but can be fatal. Home-processed foods are often the culprit of foodborne botulism.

Preserve home-canned salsa safely

Don’t want to throw out extra tomatoes? Making salsa is a great way to preserve them! But it is important to follow the guidelines for keeping your home-canned salsa safe.Only use tested recipes when making home-canned salsa. A tested recipe assures there is enough acidity for safe processing in a boiling water bath. These resources offer tested recipes and tips for canning tomato products safely:

Problem solver for home-canned foods

It’s time for the canner to come out of winter storage.As you dust it off, you may remember some jars from last year that didn't turn out exactly as planned. Why do your tomatoes float in the jar? You may have used overripe tomatoes, packed them in the jar too loosely or processed them too long or at too high of a temperature.Here are some reasons why your food may not have come out as expected and some tips for ensuring perfection…

Storing canned foods

Many people have questions about storing canned goods. And since February is Canned Food Month, now is a good time to address some of the most common questions.

Making jerky from venison

Deer-hunting season is in full swing. Making jerky is a popular way to preserve venison. Here are some tips on doing it safely, including specifications for ground meat.

Pressure canning FAQs and expert advice

After testing many pressure canner gauges over the years, I have seen some that were spot on for accuracy. I have also seen some where the needle was stuck; the gauge was separate from the lid yet still reading 2 pounds; and there are those that have tested 2, 3, 5 or even 8 pounds off. I recently attended a local farmers market to do the annual pressure canner gauges testing and to answer questions. Here are some of the common…

Preserving saves garden bounty for a cold winter night

There’s nothing like a meal featuring vegetables you grew and nurtured in your garden. Enjoy your homegrown produce all year long by canning, freezing or drying produce when it’s plentiful. Each preservation method has its own pros and cons.

Can your “choice salsa” safely

People often ask if it is possible to use their own salsa recipe and can it safely. In the past the best response was: no, use it fresh or freeze it. Now there is a tested, generic recipe that allows for creativity without giving up safety.

Freezing — A quick solution

If you have room in the freezer, freezing produce is a quick solution to beat the conundrums that can come up during a great growing season. Freezing works when: