Tips for a Winning Fair Entry – Safety First!

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Summer is coming to an end and the 2017 Macon County Fair is right around the corner. This is the time of year to show off all of your hard work in the garden and kitchen by entering your preserved foods in the fair.

It may be a surprise to you that in judging home canned food, the safety of the food is the primary consideration of the judges when awarding honors to food preservation entries. Even though a jar of canned food may not “look” spoiled, there are specific characteristics that are used to evaluate the safety of the canned food. Each jar should be labeled with the name of the food, the processing method and time or pounds of pressure. Other considerations include the type of jar and lid, the condition of the jar and lid and whether or not correct headspace guidelines are being followed. Macon County altitudes range from approximately 2000 to over 5000 feet which means that all home canning processing times and pounds of pressure should be adjusted for altitude. Canned food entries that are not labeled with an appropriate process, have not  used USDA or Extension-endorsed canning methods and processing times, or that show common signs of spoilage, such as cloudy liquids, bubbling and unsealed lids will be disqualified. Here is an example of what a label should contain:

Green Beans – 2017

Pressure Canned

12 lbs for 25 minutes