Store home canned foods safely

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Did you preserve some of the goodness of your garden by home canning last summer?  If so, be sure to protect that goodness by storing your canned goods properly, away from high heat or freezing temperatures.

For best quality, all home canned foods should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, ideally at 50-70 degrees F.  They should not be stored at temperatures above 95 degrees F, in an uninsulated shed or attic, in direct sunlight, under a sink, or near hot pipes, a stove, or a furnace. Heat will cause canned food to lose quality in a few weeks or months and may cause it to spoil.  Dampness may cause metal lids to rust and seals to break, allowing contamination and spoilage.  Accidental freezing and thawing of canned foods will not cause it to spoil unless the jars break or become unsealed, but it may soften the food.  If freezing is a possibility, jars should be wrapped in newspapers, placed in heavy boxes, and covered with more newspapers and blankets.

Even under the best storage conditions, home canned foods should be used within one year for top quality and safety.  Enjoy your canned goods this winter, while looking forward to the fresh goodness of next summer’s garden!

For more information on food preservation or storage please contact the Trimble County Cooperative Extension Service office at (502) 255-7188.

References:  USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning (2009).  Retrieved August 3, 2012 from http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html.

National Center for Home Food Preservation, Frequently Asked Jam and Jelly Question.  Retrieved August 3, 2012 from http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_jellied.html.

Source:  Debbie Clouthier, Extension Associate for Food Safety and Preservation, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture

Jane Proctor is Trimble County’s Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer services.