Preserving food by canning in the oven has been a hot topic this summer. It seems everyone is looking for a shortcut to preserve food at home.
Oven canning is NOT a safe shortcut! Rachel Wall, Nutrition & Health Specialist and a registered dietitian for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, says, “Home food preservers have heard of oven canning and are wondering if it is a safe method. We remind them that just because a jar is sealed doesn’t mean the food inside is safe to eat. It takes less heat to seal a jar than it takes to make the contents safe.”
Often, a trusted and well-meaning friend or relative has shared information about canning in the oven as a simple way to can food. Others have found information on the internet promoting it as a “quick and easy” method. You may have tried it in the past and did not get sick. You were fortunate but botulism is a big concern.
Food “processed” in the oven will not necessarily be heated hot enough or long enough to produce a safe product. Oven regulators may not be very accurate and the hot air in the oven may not circulate efficiently enough to heat the food in the jars. In addition, dry heat penetrates jars very slowly. Canning jars are not designed for dry heating either. Who would want to clean up that mess if they exploded?
In addition, think of the wasted resources when finding out your food may not be safe to eat. Wall adds, “People spend a great deal of money, time, and energy canning food. It’s disheartening to tell someone their (improperly) canned food could make someone they love very sick.”
Do not put your families’ health and the quality of your food at risk for the sake of a shortcut- like oven canning. Be sure to only use research-based methods and tested recipes for safe home food preservation. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is an excellent source of this information. Go to www.store.extension.iastate.edu
for publications and recipes. In the Search box (upper right corner), enter the name or number of publication:
For more information, contact the Rachel Wall at 319-337-2145 or firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition you can call ISU Extension and Outreach’s AnswerLine at (800) 262-3804 to talk directly with a Home Economist. AnswerLine hours are Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m.-noon and from 1:00-4:00 pm.