One Up on the Competition Resources • Follow exactly the fair book rules for Use research tested recipes to be sure your each category. canned goods are top quality. The following have been scientifically tested for safety and quality: • Enter items only in established catego- ries. Don’t bring an entry for which no CSU Extension Fact Sheets, Two to four page category exists. publications that cover food preservation. These are available free online or from the La Plata • Do not bring an exhibit that has been County Extension Office. previously entered in the same event. So Easy to Preserve, 5th edition. c. 2006. • Make sure jars are clean and dry. Sticky University of Georgia. or dusty jars and jars with signs of old labels will be quickly eliminated. Ball Blue Book of Preserving. Do not use process SAFE FOOD PRESERVATION times in Ball Blue Books published prior to 1994. METHODS AND TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL • After washing jars, bring jars to the fair OPEN CLASS ENTRIES with new screw bands attached. Make Complete Guide to Home Canning, United States sure bands are not wet or rusty. (Jars Department of Agriculture, 1994 edition or later. should not be stored with bands at home.) Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, c. 2006. Jarden Corporation. • Use standard canning jars with two piece lids in standard sizes. CSU Extension: www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/pubfood.html • Avoid decorative jars, padded lids, or fabric covers. National Center for Home Food Preservation: www.uga.edu/nchfp • Use appropriate headspace called for in your recipe directions. Jarden Home Brands: www.freshpreserving.com • Check that there is no foreign matter such as stems, seeds, skins in the jar. • Liquid should cover the solids in the jar. CSU La Plata County Extension Agent is available to answer food safety and food preservation questions: Colorado State University La Plata County Extension 2500 Main Durango, Co 81301 (970) 382-6461 6/08 Entering Competition? Make it Safe Label it Smart Are you thinking about entering canned or dried • Follow research tested recipes exactly for A complete label provides the judge with goods in competition? Entering your home processing methods and processing times. information as to how you canned or dried preserved food in competition adds excitement Appropriate altitude adjustments must be the food. The label must include: as you prepare the foods. Selecting the “best” made. jar in anticipation of a blue ribbon makes the Name and variety of food process fun. • Use the pressure canner to can any low acid food—that includes meats, soups, and all Method of preparation (canned: type While you cannot predict the quality of your vegetables except acidified tomatoes and syrup, style of pack; dried: pretreatment competition or the unique criteria of each judge, pickled vegetables. used, if any) there are some steps you can take to increase the chances of earning a blue ribbon. First is to • Acidify tomatoes with bottled lemon juice or Method of processing (canned: water bath, appreciate standards of safety and quality. citric acid before processing either in a boiling pressure canner—indicate weighted or water bath or pressure canner. dial gauge; dried: oven or dehydrator) Safety is the Primary • Process high acid foods in a boiling water Processing time, altitude and pounds of Consideration bath canner. pressure (p.s.i.) You want to use safe preserving procedures • Processes that are unacceptable and unsafe Date canned or dried so that no one becomes ill. Improper processing include: open kettle processing, oven can- methods or times can cause the growth of ning, inversion sealing, paraffin sealing, and Sample Label harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness meat jerky dried from unsafe meats. or even death. Not only would this be a problem Red Haven Peaches in Light Syrup for fair judges, it could also make your family ill • Use two piece lids. Remove the screw band August 30, 2007 as they consume other jars you have canned. for storage, but put a clean screw band on Raw Pack The judge may open jars of jellies, preserves the jar to bring it to the fair. Boiling Water Canner and pickled products and may taste. Canned 40 minutes at 5,000 ft. vegetables and fruits may be opened in deter- • Always use standard brand name canning mining the pressure seal of the product. Many jars in good condition. judges will open jars to better examine the • Recipes are required for all canned and dried contents inside the jars — especially when products and must include recipe source. differences among entries are very small.