Food Preservation Questions and Answers

These are some common Food Preservation topics.

I have an old recipe that calls for adding a grape leaf to each jar of pickles. Why is this done?

An individual called yesterday with the story that she had canned applesauce without the benefit of processing in a boiling waterbath. She had taken the very hot applesauce and put it in hot jars, sealed it with hot lids and turned them up-side down. Is it OK to keep the product?

Can you explain why reheating potatoes can make them harmful to eat?

A client would like to make jam from wild black cherries and wants to know if it is safe to do so. We do know the leaves of this cherry plant are toxic. We have been unable to find any information about the fruit. Can you help?!

The brine level has fallen below the top of the cabbage in my sauerkraut. What should I do?

Is it safe to bake and store cakes and breads at home using canning jars?

Is it safe to eat canned foods that have frozen over the winter and then thawed?

Why is table salt not recommended for canning and pickling?

I have a recipe that recommends baking pumpkin bread in a glass canning jar. Is this safe?

Chocolate sauces are low acid recipes and are a risk for botulism food poisoning. Therefore any recipes that use the boiling water canning process are especially at risk.

A home cook wants to know if he could can meat with a more tender result by adding some red wine vinegar in place of all water added in the jars. Is this safe? Could the meat texture break down and become too mushy?

Are yellow tomatoes, pink, or orange tomatoes canned the same way as red tomatoes?

Can artificial sweeteners be used when canning fruits?

What can I process in half-gallon canning jars?

I have an unusual question for you. A man called for his friend. Seems his friend tried to make some hard cider and blew the lid off of his barrel! Anyway, the guy wants to stop the fermentation process before he gets to the explosion part. This man went to buy boric acid from a pharmacist and thus, the pharmacist has called me. Got any suggestions?

Where can I purchase ClearJel for thickening canned fruits and jams?

Is is safe to make apple butter in a copper kettle that had been lacquered on the inside?

Is there anything you can do to prevent the darkening of home canned corn?

Are canned foods unsafe to eat if the can is dented?

Are carrot tops safe to eat?

Today I got a call from a lady who wants to know how to make elderberry juice. Is this the same process as grape juice? She said it is used for a cough medicine. The jar she has says it contains elderberries, alcohol and sugar.

Is it possible to ferment sauerkraut in the same jars they will be processed in?

What is the problem with canners that do not have flat bottoms?

I just received a phone call questioning the safety of bananas. This caller said a friend had told her there is information on the Internet telling everyone to discard their bananas because of a flesh-eating bacteria! Do you know anything about this?

Is it safe to re-use food packaging materials?

What is the correct method for freezing celery?

What is the correct way to freeze corn? Does it always have to be blanched?

Sometimes when I preserve foods with garlic, the cloves turn a blue color. Is it still safe to use when this happens?

Are green potatoes safe to eat?

Do you have any information on the acidity of homemade vinegar? It is safe to use as an ingredient in home canning recipes?

How do I get consistent results for jams and jellies?

A home canner pressured canned her green beans at 10:30 PM last night, and forgot to remove the lid and take them out of the canner. Today at 7:30 AM, she took them out. All sealed fine, but one only has about half jar of liquid left. Are they safe to consume?

Why do we add lemon juice or citric acid when canning tomatoes?

How can one make butter at home?

From Ohio State Cooperative Extension.

Can I use Agave Syrup to make jams and jellies?

Are pressure cookers designed to be used in the microwave safe to use for canning foods?

I have some old canning recipes that my grandmother gave me. Are they still safe to use?

I am concerned about pesticides in my food. Is this something I should be worried about?

Is there a safe process for canning pickled radishes?

Are there any safe methods for preparation, processing, and storage of vegetables and herbs in oil?

An individual has asked about the safety of preserving little red thin hot peppers (dried ) made in Italy browned in olive oil kept in a jar at about 75 degrees F. The family has been making this for hundreds of years. Is this something that should be refrigerated? (Does it have the same recommendations as garlic and oil?)

Do you happen to have directions for canning walnuts?

Is it safe to re-use oil used for frying?

I read that kidney beans are harmful when eaten raw. Several day care and nursery schools have dry beans (different varieties) out for kids to play with. What danger would there be if a child ate a few of these raw beans?

Could bacterial cross-contamination occur when meat packaging materials are reused?

A consumer who processed red beets in a pressure canner using the correct times and procedures noticed that the red beets turned out very pale in color and not a deep red. Any suggestions on why the pressure canned ones were so pale?

I have observed that some stores are selling pasteurized cider at room temperature. The label reads "Refrigerate after opening." Shouldn't this be kept under refrigeration? I noticed the cider is very cloudy.

Should you rinse poultry before cooking?

A participant in a food safety class I offer became concerned after I said that "at-risk" persons for food borne illness should eat sprouts cooked, not raw. She eats sprouts often, especially in winter months. She has a sprout grower. It is three tiered. The seeds, which come packaged, are put in the top tier. Water is in the bottom, which she changes every day. She says that she often will walk by and take out some sprouts and eat them. Do you think it is safe for her to do this?

Sauerkraut was made more salty than desired. Can it be rinsed and then packed into jars and then add clear water before processing in a boiling water bath?

I packed 100# of shredded cabbage in a blue, plastic 30 gal. (approx) barrel and made sure the salt water (1/2 c. per 10#) covered the cabbage. I placed the barrel in my basement in a room approx. 70 degrees. I put a clear plastic bag of salt water (1/4 c. salt per gallon of water) on the cabbage. During fermentation, I saw no bubbles and smelled only a little gas. When I took the plastic bag off today, there was a layer of mold. I took that off. The liquid, which didn't reach to the top of the cabbage, was "ropey", stringy, gelatinous. The kraut was mostly white instead of the translucent color I expected. Can you suggest what was wrong with the batch from the information I gave?

A consumer brought in a jar of home canned tomatoes to the office (canned last year). Some, but not all of the seeds have turned black. Is there any danger in using these tomatoes?

Is there a food safety concern about soaking dry beans overnight before cooking? Is the fast soak safer than the long soak?

Why does "fatter" milk tend to last longer than skim milk? I could have skim and 2% in my fridge for the same period of time, and the skim will go off/sour faster. What is it about the fat content that makes it last longer? And why does milk go sour - what is the process causing that?

Can Splenda (sucralose) be used in preserving food?

I would like to transfer honey into 3 oz. jars for short term storage. Do I need to sterilize jars? Should I boil honey before pouring into jars to seal them? Do they need to be sealed or stored in refrigerator?

Can you tell me if there are any type of preservatives put on fresh strawberries before shipping? The client says she vomits from the sulfites put on lettuce when eating out and wants to know if she can safely eat strawberries. Her reaction to sulfites has not been medically diagnosed. Isn't it law that an eating establishment that uses sulfites must state this fact? I would appreciate any information that you can provide.

A consumer observes a white substance surrounding pieces of canned squash the canned product. Is this safe to eat?

I heard that Ziploc plastic bags can be used to make omelettes in the microwave. Is this a safe practice?