Call AnswerLine for Safe Canning Advice

Call AnswerLine for Safe Canning Advice
AMES, Iowa -- Times have changed since great grandma was canning for her family. Today’s recipes have been scientifically tested to ensure a safe product. So before trying any of those old family canning recipes, call AnswerLine, the home and family hotline at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
“If great grandma’s recipe isn’t safe, AnswerLine will tell you,” said hotline coordinator Elizabeth Meimann.
“Callers sometimes are a bit frustrated with us when we answer canning questions. We often have to tell a caller that the old family recipe for a canned product is not safe. We must advise our callers that oven canning, canning low acid vegetables in a water bath canner and using ‘any old recipe’ for pickles are not safe practices,” Meimann said.
“We aren’t the ‘canning police.’ Our main goal is to help you keep your family safe for years to come,” Meimann said.
AnswerLine has become a highly trusted resource for the people of Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota, providing information and resources on home and family questions regarding everything from child development to cleaning to food safety, nutrition, laundry and much more.
At this time of year many people contact AnswerLine to get answers to canning questions or tested recipes they can try at home, said Rachel Wall, a human sciences specialist in nutrition and wellness with ISU Extension and Outreach.
AnswerLine uses a number of research-based resources, Wall said, including ISU Extension and Outreach’s “Preserve the Taste of Summer” series of recipes. The AnswerLine specialists also consult the University of Georgia’s National Center for Home Food Preservation and the USDA Home Canning Guide.
“The recipes and procedures in these books have been scientifically tested in a laboratory to ensure the coldest part of a canning jar gets hot enough long enough to kill the botulism bacteria if present. We don’t want you to cut corners and put your family at risk,” Wall said.
“Botulism can be a deadly disease and those at the greatest risk are those who are often most dear to our hearts; the elderly and the very young. Pregnant women and people with a compromised immune system also are at great risk,” Wall said.
AnswerLine, 800-262-3804 in Iowa, is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. AnswerLine also has a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well as a twice-weekly blog at

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