acreage living June 1998

ISU cooperative extension

In this issue: acreage living home page

 Food Safety Requires Proper Preservation

Food Safety Requires Proper Preservation Techniques and Vigilance of Storage Temperatures
(Prepared by Pat Anderson, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Nutrition and Health, East Pottawattamie County, 712/482-6449)

How does your garden grow?

If it looks like your garden harvest is going to be bountiful and you plan to preserve some of your produce, it's time to check on your canning knowledge.

1. Do you process vegetables and products with meat in a pressure canner and never by any other method? Yes - No

2. When steam begins to escape from your pressure canner, do you set a timer and vent steam for 10 minutes before beginning to build pressure? Yes - No

3. Do you adjust for the altitude in south west Iowa, using 11 pounds pressure on a dial canner or 15 pounds pressure on a weighted gauge canner? Yes - No

4. Do you stifle your creativity and follow canning recipes exactly? Yes - No

5. Do you water bath process all pickles (including sauerkraut), jams, jellies, and fruit? Yes - No

6. Do you sterilize jars for foods that will be processed less than 10 minutes? Yes - No

7. Do you acidify tomatoes and recipes containing tomatoes before water bath processing? Yes - No

8. Are you using canning recipes from 1988 or later? Yes - No

9. If you have a dial pressure gauge canner, do you have the gauge checked yearly for accuracy? Yes - No

All of the above questions should have been answered yes. If you need updated canning information, ISU Extension can help in several ways.

If you are going to be doing a limited amount of food preservation (for example you only need to know how long to process green beans in the canner or how long to blanch them for the freezer) call our toll free Answer Line at 1-800-262-3804. A home economist on the campus of Iowa State University will answer your call and provide the needed information.

If you need updated food preservation recipes, contact your local ISU Extension office and place an order for a copy of "So Easy to Preserve." This food preservation book is usually not kept in stock because of the $15 cost. Order now to have it in time for preserving your garden harvest. Recipes in this book are based on the latest USDA research and is a complete resource, containing directions for canning, pickling, jellies, jams, freezing, and drying. It also contains information on using food preservation equipment (like how long to vent your canner and how often your weighted gauge should jiggle) and many helpful charts and tables (like how many quart jars will you need to can a bushel of apples or how many ounces there are in a cup of pickling salt, etc.).

If you are an internet user, you can access information with your home computer through extension offices with public access sites or through your local library as follows:

Canning information at

Freezing information at

Drying information at

Be Prepared for Summer Storms

It may be nice to have el nino to blame for summer storms, but regardless of why we have storms we need to be prepared for power outages. Always keep an appliance thermometer in the refrigerator, in your refrigerator freezer, and in free standing freezers. This is a valuable tool at any time to see if food is being stored at a safe temperature, but it is invaluable for knowing what food you can safely keep if you have a power outage. A safe refrigerator temperature is 400F or below and freezer temperatures should be at 00F or below at all times.

If you experience a power outage, retain cold air inside appliances by not opening the door any more than necessary. A full, large freezer will hold at freezing temperature about two days and a half-full freezer for a day. If your freezer isn't full, open it once to group foods together so they help chill each other.

If you have an extended power outage, discard the following foods if they have been above 400F for more than two hours (this applies to foods at picnic or on buffets as well as foods in a refrigerator or freezer):

raw or cooked meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and egg substitutes
foods containing dairy products casseroles, stews, or soups lunch meats and hot dogs
opened jars of creamy salad dressings, mayonnaise, tartar sauce
custard, chiffon, or cheese pies
cream-filled pastries
refrigerator cookie doughs
butter or margarine in use (yes this means no cupboard storage of butter or margarine)

Frozen foods that have thawed may be refrozen if they have not reached a temperature above 400F degrees or if they still contain ice crystals. Discard foods if you discover them at a tempera ture above 400F and you are uncertain how long they have been at that temperature.

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Some Future Trends

(Prepared by Wayne Kobberdahl, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Communities, Mills County, 712/624-8616)

I enjoy reading about what futurists see happening in years to come. Sometimes we are able to gain insight on the present and short term future by looking to their predictions. One has to be careful, however, in going along with these predictions because futurists often find them selves on "thin ice."

Some of the following trends or predictions may have already come to pass. If trends and predic tions are based on good research and utilize good statistical probability, chances are much better we will see them as a part of our lives in the not too distant future. These trends are taken from a publication called "An Environmental Scan Update" distributed by the Division of Community Services and Economic Development of Iowa Western Community College.

Asia, with two-thirds of the world's people, will be nine times as densely populated per acre of arable land, overtaxing already scarce environ mental resources; therefore, Western Hemisphere farm exports could be their economic salvation. Setting aside U.S. land in commodity programs may allow similar land to come into production elsewhere in the world at a loss of aggregate competitive advantage to U.S. growers.

Pork growth hormone will produce hogs with one-third less fat and 15% more lean, using 25% less feed grain.

Computer access to vegetation greenness maps will allow grain traders in Chicago to monitor Midwestern farm crops. This information will help farmers determine planting, fertilizing, and harvesting schedules.

"Good bugs" will start to replace insecticides inside grain bins as well as on grocer shelves. The good bugs eat the bad bugs and are then washed away in the processing.

The world will face continued growth in grain demand driven by the addition of nearly 90 million people per year and a recovering world economy.

Most soybeans consumed for food are eaten in East Asia as bean curd in various forms, principally as tofu.

Wheat is traditionally the world's leading crop. Recently, corn production has been surpassing wheat production.

Of 456 industries surveyed by the University of Connecticut, cereal had the largest price/cost margin, except for chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and greeting cards.

The production of beef, the leading source of meat throughout the postwar period, was overtaken by pork in the late seventies, opening a lead that has continued to widen since then. No country dominates production of any meat as much as China does that of pork, accounting for 43% of the world output.

The three largest U.S. beef packers, IBP, Inc., Con Agra, and Excel, increased their share of fed-cattle kill to over 80% recently.

Worldwide consumption of fish is at its highest recorded level and growing. The world fish catch went from 22 million to 101 million tons during the period of 1950-1994.

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 Care for Storm Damaged Trees

(Prepared by Eldon Everhart, ISU Extension Field Specialist/Horticulture, Shelby County, 712/755-3104)

Recent high winds and tornadoes have damaged trees in several counties. Certain tree species are more susceptible to damage than others. For example, silver maples, Siberian elms, willows, green ash, and hackberry often suffer considerable damage. Sugar maples, Norway maples, lindens, and oaks often sustain less damage. However, any tree that is large and old, with improperly pruned branches, double leaders, or narrow crotch angles is more susceptible to storm damage.

If you have storm damaged trees, first carefully examine the extent of damage. Then get immediate help with large trees that are hazards to people or property. If a power line is involved, utility company personnel are the only ones who should be working in the area.

It is relatively easy to repair minor damage on small trees if you have up-to-date knowledge of proper pruning procedures, access to proper equipment, and the desire to do the job. For severe damage to large trees, it may be safer to hire someone who specializes in tree care.

When widespread storm damage occurs, it is not unusual for individuals calling themselves "tree specialists" to start calling or knocking on doors. Owning a truck and a chainsaw does not automatically qualify someone as an arborist. Ask to see proof of education/training in tree care.

Proper repair methods are geared toward assisting the tree in healing as quickly as possible. It is important to use correct pruning techniques to minimize the size of the wound. Avoid making flush cuts, and leave the branch bark collar in tact. Remove large, uneven stubs by pruning back to an undamaged side branch. Wound dressing or pruning paint is not recommended. It is better to leave the wound open to air and sunlight.

Unfortunately, few trees can survive severe splitting of the main trunk or an injury that removes more than one-third of the bark around the tree. Broken tops on large trees are often expensive to treat and difficult for the tree to repair.

Injured trees often take time to heal. The time involved may be many months to several years. Some trees may never completely recuperate. Other trees that are cared for properly may recover so thoroughly that most people will never realize they were damaged.

Do not top trees and do not hire anyone who is willing to top your trees. Pruning a tree the right way requires about 30 percent more labor than topping. However, the advantages of good pruning practices are well worth the extra effort. Properly pruned trees live longer and are healthier than topped trees.

For more information, consult the ISU Extension publications entitled "Managing Storm Damaged Trees" (Pm-1387), "Topping -- Tree Care or Tree Abuse?" (Pm-1371), "Street Trees for Iowa" (Pm-1429e), and "Low-Growing Trees for Urban and Rural Iowa" (Pm-1429d). These and many other publications about trees are available at your local county ISU Extension office.

Acreage Living is published monthly. For more information, contact your local county ISU Extension Office.
Editor: Shawn Shouse, ISU Extension FS/Ag Engineering, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, Iowa, 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600
Layout & Design: Paulette Cambridge, Office Assistant, SW Area Extension, 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, Iowa 51544, Ph: 712/769-2600

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