Master Food Preserver (MFP)

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I wrote this for the University of California at Davis–Cooperative Extension/El Dorado Master Food Preservers, March 5, 2011.

Butter and Milk—Why can’t they be canned?

Often times, Master Food Preservers ponder why it is not recommended to add cream or milk to their canned soup recipes.  Invariably, an attendee at our MSP public education classes will also ask if milk can be canned or ask why canning dairy products like milk and butter are discouraged.  The common response is that it is not recommended or deemed safe by the University of California/Davis Co-operative Extension.  Many Master Food Preservers and students are satisfied with that answer.  But, for those of you who want to know the real reason, it is quite simple—chemistry and microorganisms.

I had to look no further than a post by Dr. Elizabeth L. Andress, National Director of Home Food Preservation, University of Georgia Department of Foods and Nutrition.  Dr. Andress, a Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist, commented on several questions posed regarding the safety of home canning soups that contained butters and milks.   According to Dr. Andress, there are no established safe procedures for canning dairy products.  She echoed our stance that many personal Internet sites that share canning recipes and information pose safety concerns: For a recipe to be safe, it needs to be thoroughly challenged in microbiology studies to confirm a safe product is achieved every time it is processed.  Dr. Andress further explained that the “amount of heat that would have to be applied to kill harmful bacteria” that grows in dairy products in a processed jar held at room temperature would be “extremely detrimental to its quality.”  She went on to say that, “Milk is a finely balanced emulsion of proteins in water.  If the proteins are over-heated, they drop out of suspension and the milk separates (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums, Sept. 25, 2007).”

Dr. Linda Harris, U.C. Davis, agreed with Dr. Andress’ comments adding that safe home canning of milk and butter is simply impossible to do. She recommended freezing as the best home preservation method for these products. In addition, Dr. Linda Harris reiterated that milk and butter are low acid products that “support the outgrowth of C. botulinum and toxin formation in a sealed jar at room temperature.”  She explained that fats can protect botulism spores and toxins from heat if they are in a product during a canning process.  This is why canning milk, butter and/or the addition of milk or butter to other products to be canned is not recommended.

More information on this and other subjects can be found at the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation website (www.uga.edu/nchfp) and the Joy Kitchen (www.thejoykitchen.com).

Happy canning to all of you in the 2011 season.

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I wrote this on behalf of the El Dorado County Master Food Preservers.  It was published in the Mountain Democrat Newspaper, Placerville, on or about September 2010.

Simplify the Holidays with Apples, Pears and More.

Warm days and cold nights are just around the corner and you can almost taste it in the air.  The irresistible taste of a tree-ripened Apple Hill apple is awaiting your arrival.  It is hard to resist the crisp crunch and sweet juices.  If only there was a way for you to capture the flavors of Fall so they can be enjoyed during the long winter months to come. But wait, you can!  The El Dorado County Master Food Preservers, a U.C. Davis Cooperative Extension program, have the skills and are eager to help you learn.

Imagine having preservative-free, applesauce, pie filling and more at your fingertips year round.  Have you ever needed to whip up a quick dessert for unexpected company?  With the skills you will learn, you will be equipped to do it quickly and artfully.  Simply fill a pie shell with your very own home-canned apple pie filling and bake it.  In less than 15 minutes, a home-made pie will be in the oven and your house will be filling with the sweet aroma of apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Your guests will be so impressed that they will swear you will be the next “Iron Chef.”

Are you looking for simple ways to entertain during the holidays?  Come learn to prepare and preserve fruit chutneys and sauces for easy and flavorful dinners sure to impress even the most discerning palates.  Spruce up a boring pork loin into to an amazing, juicy roast topped with a zesty coulis; dress up a pan-seared Tilapia fillet with a fruit chutney for a taste of the tropics; add citrus marmalade to a chicken stir fry for an oriental delight; or wake your loved ones with fresh buckwheat pancakes served with apple butter or boysenberry syrup.  With a little training and imagination, the possibilities are endless.

September and October are exciting months for Master Food Preservers and we want to share our ideas with you.  Make plans now to attend our upcoming classes “Apples, Pears and More” on September 25th; “Juices, Sauces and Syrups” on October 2nd; and “Conserves, Butters and Marmalades” on October 9th.

Our Master Food Preservers enjoy sharing their wealth of information on safe preservation methods, techniques and recipes at our free classes which are offered most Tuesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until noon in the Bethell-Delfino Agriculture Building, 311 Fair Lane, Placerville.

Do you have a question about food preservation?  Call our Food Preserver Hotline at (530) 621-5506 and get your questions answered.  For more information and a complete list of our free public workshops, go to the El Dorado County Master Food Preserver’s website at http://ceelderado.ucdavis.edu/Master_Food_Preservers/.

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I was certified by the University of California at Davis’ Cooperative Extension/El Dorado County in 2010 as a Master Food Preserver.  As a member, I volunteer to help teach community members how to properly and safely preserve foods.  This is an exciting educational program which I fully endorse.  I encourage each of you to check out the MFP programs in your local areas.  Not only is it fun, but it is a healthy way to preserve fresh vegetables, fruits and proteins for future use.  This MFP page will include articles I have written for the MFP program.

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One Response to Master Food Preserver (MFP)

  1. Debby Nelson says:

    Thanks for the canning article! You saved our tummies from possible sickness!!

    I’ve canned tomatoes and jams/jellies for just about 40 years; the earliest of those years alongside my Mom & Grandma. Well, I’ve never canned cream of tomato soup, and this year had some tomatoes leftover (after canning 36 quarts of whole), so made soup for dinner. There was quite a bit leftover, and it was delicious. Not wanting to waste it, I decided to put up 3 quarts of soup. One was eaten the next day, but the other two were still in the garage from last season.

    After reading your article, I was soooo glad for your info that you can’t can cream in soup (or anything else)…. I ended up throwing the soup away, but much better than suffering food poisoning.

    So, while it was fairly obvious on opening the jars of soup that they’d gone bad, I’m grateful for the information and that we didn’t have to go through being sick!! And it’s likely that sometimes it might not be so obvious, and people could end up eating tainted food. Great information!! Now, I’m absolutely going to sign up for the master food preserver program!!

    Love your site and blog — keep up the great work!!

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