Preserve and protect your bounty of summer produce

Writer(s): 
Photo: Adobe Stock Images

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Summer begins this week, so now is the time to level up your food preservation expertise. Those tasty tomatoes, cabbages, berries, and other goodies from your garden or local farm market can be made to last with advice from Ohio State University Extension’s food preservation team.

OSU Extension, with offices in all 88 Ohio counties, is the statewide outreach arm of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Kate Shumaker, Extension educator in Holmes County, is knowledgeable about techniques such as canning, freezing, drying, and pickling, which are all used to preserve and protect food.

“We have several great resources for anyone interested in food preservation,” she said. “Since ancient times, our ancestors used basic items like salt and sugar to preserve food. Because many food items perish very quickly, we can extend the life of our food by taking steps to prevent spoilage.”

Today, even chemical methods and preservatives are used to lengthen the life of food items.

“Microorganisms and the natural ripening process can spoil fresh produce,” Shumaker said. “All of the techniques used in home food preservation include steps to make sure that microorganisms are not allowed to grow, and the ripening process is stopped.”

Slowing or stopping food spoilage also halts the loss of nutritional value, the amount of food loss, and food item edibility.

The Extension food preservation team is offering a free, biweekly webinar series titled “Trends and Traditions in Home Food Preservation,” with several sessions addressing pressure canning, freezing, drying, and freeze drying. The webinars are offered Tuesdays, from noon-12:30 p.m.

Upcoming sessions will be titled “Trending Recipes in Home Food Preservation” on June 18, “Safety Sense” on July 9, and “I Saw It on the Internet” on June 23. Those interested in attending can register at go.osu.edu/CrQj.

Some of the May and early June webinars addressed topics such as the evolution of home food preservation, trending techniques in home food preservation, and trending ingredients in home food preservation. All of these webinars are recorded and available to watch, along with some 30 webinar recordings from past years, at go.osu.edu/foodpreservationwebinars.

Additionally, the food preservation team makes weekly posts on the OSU Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences’ LiveSmartOhio Facebook page. Visit facebook.com/livesmartohio, and “like” the page to see the latest posts.

Shumaker said, “Contact your local county Extension office with your food preservation questions. Our network of family and consumer sciences Extension professionals are available across the state. Visit extension.osu.edu/lao to find the county office closest to you.”  

An additional, excellent resource is the collection of food preservation fact sheets found at ohioline.osu.edu.

“Just search for ‘food preservation,’” Shumaker said.

Writer(s): 
CFAES News Team
614-292-2270
For more information, contact: 

Kate Shumaker
Ohio State University Extension

330-674-3015