This year, USDA has been encouraging folks to try local food production and consumption. The People’s Garden has been an excellent example in connecting people to where their food comes from. And many of you followed suit, planting gardens of your own.
This autumn, we hope you have reaped the benefits of your garden. But did you know that you can continue to enjoy your fresh fruits and vegetables all year long? Home canning is a great way to preserve the food you’ve grown and produced.
USDA wants to make sure you are able to can and store your garden harvests in a safe and healthy manner. The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning has been updated to reflect the most current canning techniques. The book discusses canning equipment, ingredients and procedures and how to use them to achieve safe, high-quality canned products. It includes hundreds of canning recipes for fruits, tomatoes, vegetables, red meats, poultry, seafoods and pickles and relishes. This guide is available for purchase from Purdue University Extension by calling 1-888-EXT-INFO or you can download a pdf copy online.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture has also funded the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia. This center was established to address food safety concerns for those who practice and teach home food preservation and processing methods. Publications and resources are available from the center, and their Web site has useful home canning seasonal tips to ensure you use proper techniques.
Home gardens are a great way to produce healthy, nutritious foods. But healthy eating isn’t just something we can do when local fruits and vegetables are in season. With these resources, you can get the nutrients you need all year round to lead a healthy life.