It's nearly July.
How does your garden grow?
Have you thought about what you'll do with the bounty?
Before you start planning midnight forays to leave tomatoes on your neighbors' front porches or baking endless loaves of zucchini bread for your coworkers, have you considered preserving your own food?
Preserving food at home is a source of enjoyment and pride for many, but there are several rules worth remembering to ensure a safe, quality-preserved product.
Ohio State University Extension Educator Jenny Lobb will be at Worthington Park Library, 1389 Worthington Centre Drive, on June 30 to discuss the three basic methods of safe food preservation: canning, freezing and drying.
Here's a primer:
Canning – Canning involves processing food in closed glass jars at high temperatures. According to Ball Canning, makers of Ball jars, the heat interrupts natural spoilage by destroying food contaminants while at the same time removing air from the jars. As the jars cool, a vacuum seal forms to prevent recontamination.
There are two home-canning methods. Water-bath canning is recommended for produce and recipes containing fruits, tomatoes, pickles and vinegars. Pressure canning preserves low-acid foods, such as poultry and seafood.
Freezing – Freezing food is an easy, at-home method of food preservation that slows the growth of microorganisms and enzymes that cause food to spoil, resulting in a product that's close, in taste and nutrition, to fresh foods.
With just a little preparation, meats, fruits and vegetables are all good candidates for freezing. One advantage of the method is that no special equipment is needed. Use plastic bags or wrap, if you're freezing food for a short time; use heavy-duty aluminum foil, special freezer bags or freezer wrap for longer periods.
Drying – If your freezer is full and you still have food you'd like to keep, make some space in a cupboard or pantry and try drying it.
Drying is one of the oldest home food-preservation methods and involves removing enough moisture from foods so bacteria and molds can't grow. You can dry food in a dehydrator, oven or well-ventilated room and in the sun -- but low humidity is required.
"Food Preservation 101" starts at 2:30 p.m.
Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.