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Safe Home Food Preservation Methods

Our "Let's Preserve" fact sheets provide detailed methods from Penn State University for processing fruits and vegetables.

Canning can be a fun and economical way to make fresh foods available year-round. Don’t take chances with canning recipes handed down over the years.

Freezing is a quick, convenient, and easy method of preserving foods in the home. Frozen foods are easy to serve because most of the preparation is done before freezing. Freezing preserves nutritive quality so that frozen foods resemble fresh foods.

Dried foods are tasty, nutritious, lightweight, and easy to store and use. The energy input is less than what is needed to freeze or can, and the storage space is less than that needed for canning jars and freezer containers.

For freezing, select apple varieties that are crisp and firm and not mealy textured, such as Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty, Jonathan, York Imperial, or Granny Smith. For canning, use Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Mclntosh, Braeburn, Crispin, York Imperial, or other apple varieties that are crisp and firm and will retain their shape and texture.

Select berries that are plump, firm, have a light-blue to blue-black color, and are of ideal maturity for eating fresh. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days to improve flavor, then preserve them.

Select freshly harvested cherries with deep, uniform color and ideal maturity for eating fresh. Don’t delay preserving them, with or without seeds.

The following fruit fillings are excellent and safe products. Each canned quart makes one 8- to 9-inch pie.

Part of the Let's Preserve series, this publication details canning procedures and recipes for jellies, jams, and spreads.

Most apricot and nectarine varieties are suitable for canned and frozen products.

This Let's Preserve fact sheet offers instructions for freezing and canning pears.

The main types of Pepper products include regular, sweet pickled, hot pickled, marinated, and pickled pepper relish.

This publication from the Let's Preserve series details canning methods for different kinds of pickles.

This Let's Preserve fact sheet offers recipes, freezing, and canning methods for sauerkraut.

This fact sheet from the Let's Preserve series discusses canning and freezing methods for snap beans.

A Let's Preserve fact sheet that details freezing procedures for strawberries.

Recommended Varieties: Most sweet corn varieties are acceptable for canning and freezing. Bodacious and Incredible are good extra-sweet yellow varieties.

Select only disease-free, preferably vine-ripened, firm fruit for canning. Do not can tomatoes from dead or frost-killed vines. Green tomatoes are more acidic than ripened fruit and can be canned safely with any of the following recommendations.

The flavor of herbs comes from oils in the cell walls of plants. Leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds of herbs can all be dried.

Meat and poultry can be preserved for longer-term storage through canning, drying, or freezing. Whether it is game from a recent hunt or product bought on sale from the store, these preservation techniques provide the opportunity to safely consume these meat and poultry products well beyond the time they were harvested.

Canning salt or pickling salt is pure salt, no additives. This type of salt is the best choice for canning, pickling, and sauerkraut.

The quality and safety of home-preserved foods is dependent, in large part, on the ingredients that are used. This fact sheet in the Let’s Preserve series provides information on many of the typical ingredients used in home food preservation recipes.