June Grow Appalachia class on Canning

June Grow Appalachia class on Canning

 Scott Christian Care Center’s June class we covered the basics of canning.   We have some seasoned gardeners in Scott County that a have been canning for years, then we have some that have never canned in their life.  On display was two different types of pressure canners, a water bath canner, all the equipment needed to process the foods.

Two different types of pressure canners, a water bath canner.

Two different types of pressure canners, a water bath canner.

We discussed the approved USDA rules on canning  and processing foods safely at home.  Over time the rules have changed on certain ways to safely and properly process our home grown goodness.  Two things I wanted to share with the gardeners that are vitally important

1. There is no safe way to process green beans other than in a pressure canner.   I have had several gardeners tell me they do it  in a water bath in a big kettle outside or in a oven, I even had one person tell me how to do it in a dishwasher.  Many ways over the years people have canned in unique ways.  I certainly do not want to offend anyone and tell them  the way grandma  done it 50 years ago is wrong.  We learn the way we used to do things sometimes are not how we should do them now.  There is no safe way to can green beans without using a pressure canner. 

2. Processing tomatoes have changed.  Years ago we always just added tomatoes to the the jar, teaspoon of salt and away we went processing them.  This not the correct way now.  I will explain why.  The USDA determines the safe way to process foods  is by the PH or acidic levels in foods.  Tomato acidic levels depend on a variety of factors such as variety of tomato,  soil it was grown in,  and several other factors.  What has happened is with modern hybridizing some tomatoes are bred to be lower in acids.  Yellow and orange tomatoes naturally are lower in acid.  So to be safe It is now recommemded to add acid to the tomatoes generally lemon juice, citric acid, or 5% vinegar.

Here are several places to find current information on safe canning methods:




We demonstrated a basic food dehydrator,  a juicer/ strainer that makes canning sauces, juices  alot easier.




We also went over our harvest report sheets.   Our gardens are producing well now, so we want to make sure everyone gets reported all that home grown deliousness from the garden.  Miss Eve talked a little about the Scott County Farmers Market and encouraged everyone to come out and sell their produce if they wanted.  The Farmers Market has reserved a table just for Grow Appalachia participants to come and sell.

Site Visits were another topic we covered.  That is  the staffs favorite part seeing everyone’s  garden is such fun for us.  We learn so much from each gardener.  Some things we can use in our own gardens or share with others.

Miss Phyliss brought in a zucchini pie to share with the class.  Doesn’t sound so good at first. ohhhhhh wait until you taste it.  I was blown away  it tasted exactly like an apple pie, talk about a way to get kids to eat their vegetables.

I hope everyone has a safe July 4.

until next time,

Cathy Lackey