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Walnut Creek District

General Information

The practice of preserving food has existed for thousands of years. Because food starts to spoil as soon as it is harvested, preservation methods helped keep the food for longer periods of time. This allowed ancient people to live in one place for longer periods of time.

Today, food preservation has transformed from a rural practice of being self-sufficient to a practice of preserving for fun. Gardening is a popular activity and farmer's markets are sprouting in many communities. Abundant fresh vegetables and fruits motivate consumers to save summer tastes for other times of the year.

Let's learn about food preservation and how to use today's modern methods to preserve food safely.

How Temperature Affects Food Preservation

Temperatures for Food Preservation

240 to 250oFPressure canning temperature for low acid vegetables, meat, and poultry.
212oFBoiling-water canner temperature for acidic fruits, tomatoes, pickles, and jellied products
180 to 250oFCanning temperature that destroys most bacteria, yeasts, and molds in acidic foods. As temperature increases, the destruction time decreases.
140 to 165oFWarming temperatures prevent growth, but some microorganisms survive in this range.
40 to 140oFTEMPERATUREDANGERZONE! Rapid microbial growth occurs in this range.
95oFMaximum storage temperature for canned food.
50 to 70oFBest storage temperature for canned and dried foods. Keep area cool, dry, and dark.
32oFTemperature water freezes.
32 to 40oFMicroorganism growth slows, but they are not killed.
0 to 32oFMicroorganism growth stops, but they are not killed.
0 to - 10oFBest temperature for storing food in a freezer.

Canning Equipment

When current food preservation recommendations are followed, home preserved foods can be very safe. Here are some older preservation practices no longer recommended.