Finding Reliable Recipes for Safe Food Preservation

Reviewed and updated by Tabetha Woodside, Food Science Intern, Clemson University, 03/16. Originally pprepared by Adair Hoover, Program Assistant, Food Safety and Preservation, Clemson University HGIC and Dr. Susan Barefoot, Extension Program Team Leader Food Safety & Nutrition, Clemson University, 04/12.

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The trend to use local resources is flourishing in South Carolina. There are numerous opportunities to purchase local fresh foods. Preserving these foods while they are at the peak of ripeness is an excellent way to benefit throughout the year.

The main methods of preserving are canning, freezing and drying. These methods have been used for many years but the failure to execute them properly can pose significant health risks. For example, incorrect canning can promote the growth of Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium that produces a highly toxic poison in low acid foods. Safely preserving food begins with the proper handling of fresh foods and depends on using tested recipes, strictly following instructions and working with equipment that is in proper operating condition.

There are numerous resources for preserving foods. Many of them are not safe and may include recipes passed down from previous generations and random internet searches. The following sources provide research-based information, procedures and instructions and may be relied upon for up-to-date, safe and accurate information

  • Clemson University Home and Garden Information Center -
  • USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning -
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation at University of Georgia  -
  • Andress and Harrison, eds. 2006, So Easy to Preserve, 6th Ed.  -
  • 2015, Ball Blue Book, Guide to Preserving, 37th Ed. -
  • MacRae, Norma, 1996, Canning and Preserving Without Sugar, 4th Ed.
  • Freezing and Food Safety, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service -
  • DeLong, Deanna, 2006, How to Dry Foods: The Most Complete Guide to Drying Foods at Home, Penguin Group, New York
  • University of Montana Extension, Quality for Keeps: Drying Food -
  • Extension Service Offices across the United States

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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.