- Author: Felicia Friesema
We had a great question on our Facebook page this morning about getting a pressure gauge tested. The National Center for Home Food Preservation says: take it to your local Cooperative Extension! Awesome! Here at the Los Angeles County UC Cooperative Extension we would love to test your pressure gauges! Many county offices all over the country have provided this service to the public for years. After all, improper pressure canning can result in severe illness or death - yikes. And it's recommended you get your gauges tested every year prior to diving into your canning season. If the gauge reads high or low by more than two pounds at 5, 10 or 15 pounds pressure, replace it. If it is less than two pounds off in accuracy, you can make adjustments needed to be sure you have the required pressure in your canner.
Like I said earlier, we would LOVE to do this. But we're not equipped to do so yet. As we dive head first into our super bountiful summer season, we realize this is an important service that LA County residents need. We're looking into the policies and procedures that will be necessary for us to provide this service to the public. In the meantime, you have a few other in-state options to explore:
California Counties Providing Pressure Canner Inspection OR Pressure Gauge Testing:
El Dorado County Master Food Preserver Program
Either send or bring in lids with the gauge attached and return postage OR drop the lid off
and pick it up at the county office. The entire pot can also be brought in for evaluation. In 2009 there was no charge for this service.
Solano and Yolo County
Drop off the whole pressure canner. They inspect the entire pot and test it at all three basic temperatures that home canners might use. $20.00 fee.
Non-UC Testing Services:
Embarcadero Home Cannery
2026 Livingston Street
Oakland, CA 94606
Dial gauges are tested for approximately $5 plus return postage. Individuals would remove the gauge and mail it to EHC. They will test it using their master gauge and return it with a report as to its accuracy and invoice. They sell new gauges for $21. Once mailed, EHC will return within a week.
NATIONAL PRESTO INDUSTRIES, INC.
Consumer Services Department
3925 N. Hastings Way
Eau Claire, WI 54703-2209
Phone: 1-800-877-0441 1 – 800-368-2194.
Presto will test Presto canners for no charge. Simply send gauge to them (prefer shipment by UPS; allow turn around time of more than two weeks, so plan ahead!)
We're working on adding LA County to this list. Hopefully we'll be able to make an announcement about this soon. Thanks for your patience while we get this ship moving.
Twelve weeks really flies by! A few of us found ourselves twiddling our thumbs last Monday night - the first night in months when we didn't have an MFP class to attend. This first class graduated back on Monday, June 20th, sending 18 (!) brand new Master Food Preservers out into Los Angeles County to teach the public the essentials of safe home food preservation. Our instructor, MFP Ernest Miller wasted NO time in recruiting some volunteers for his new Pickle University at The Farmer's Kitchen in Hollywood and several of us are already partnering with local organizations and markets to fulfill our 30 volunteer hours.
But before we get into all that, first a little recap. Graduation was a fun night. We all talked about our plans, what we liked best in the class, and what we wanted more of in the future. We had a GREAT silent auction to raise money for the program. And before we were handed our diplomas, we had a little surprise for our dedicated instructor.
As classmate, and now MFP, Alexandra said, what's the point of social media except to embarrass those we love? Ernest Miller, you are awesome. And yes, we'll be teaching the next class. I only hope we're able to do as good a job as he did.
We'll be posting dates and locations of where you can find our new MFPs teaching about canning and preserving. In the meantime, if you want/need an MFP at your event, contact Brenda at email@example.com./span>
The University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources is a vast and mighty organization that touches on everything from African "killer bee" invasions to leaf scorch on almond trees to, well, canning and preserving. What's even better is that they compile all of this information into easy to read, downloadable, FREE publications with pictures, diagrams, and easy to follow graphs that help illustrate how easy it is to create safe preserved food for your home.
You can search though the entire list here. But we've compiled a short list of links to some of our favorites.
Apples: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Cantaloupe: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Egg Basics for the Consumer: Packaging, Storage, and Nutritional Information
Garlic: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, & Enjoy
Nuts: Safe Methods for Home Gardeners to Harvest, Store, and Enjoy
Olives: Safe Methods for Home Pickling
Oranges: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Peppers: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, & Enjoy
Safe Methods of Canning Vegetables
Strawberries: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
Tomatoes: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
We're really lucky here in Los Angeles County. Most farmers markets across the country only recently opened for business for the year, running on a tight seasonal harvest schedule. Here in LA? We harvest year-round and our farmers markets are open from January to December.
"Putting up" is a constant activity here - pickling Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and cabbage in December; hot packing carrots and beets at their peak flavor in January; freezing persimmon puree and juicing pomegranates in November; and let's not forget all the winter citrus heading into marmalades, getting juiced, or flavoring myriad liqueurs and beers.
That said, things do tend to pick up a bit when May rolls into view. The first of the stone fruits - sour plums and cherries - hit the tables in mid-May. And let's not forget mulberries, though how could we when so many trees dot our neighborhoods, sometimes providing a free harvest. And now, we're just starting to see peaches and plums. It's going to be a busy summer. The colder-than-usual winter we had this year gave all the stone fruit trees plenty of rest time and now are producing some record setting fruit harvests.
To get you started, here's a super simple recipe from The National Center for Home Food Preservation. Happy summer!
Plum Jam (without added pectin)
- 2 quarts chopped tart plums (about 4 pounds)
- 6 cups sugar
- 1½ cup water
- ¼ cup lemon juice
Yield: About 8 half-pint jars
Procedure: Sterilize canning jars. Combine all ingredients; bring slowly to boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to, or almost to, the jellying point (which is 8°F above the boiling point of water, or 220°F at sea level). Stir constantly to prevent sticking or burning. (See Testing Jelly Without Added Pectin.)
Pour hot jam into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner - five minutes if you are at 0-1000 feet, 10 for 1001-6000 feet./h2>/span>/span>/h2>
With just two weeks until the first 2011 Master Food Preserver class for LA County graduates, it seemed time to get our blog up and running at ucanr.org (don't you just love that url? ucanr? mecanr? theycanr?)
These past several weeks have been challenging, fun, educational, and fulfilling. But graduation is only the beginning. With new name badges and a slew of reference materials in tow, our MFP class will be going out into LA County and educating the public about safe home food preservation techniques, answering questions, and providing information about local resources.
And we're gearing up to offer the next Master Food Preserver class! We'll be announcing more detailed info about that very soon.
In the meantime, if you're in Los Angeles County and have questions about home food preservation, keep tabs on us here or visit our Facebook page. If you're interested in having a Master Food Preserver come to your farmers market or community event, please contact UCCE Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences Advisor Brenda Roche at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More to come! Stay tuned!