Food Safety & Preservation


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    Food Safety & Preservation

    Canning PreservationWhether you are a new or experienced home canner, you have come to the right place. Utah State University Extension is committed to providing the most up-to-date instructions and recipes so that you can be successful when preserving food at home. Our goal is to provide home canning resources so that your experience is satisfying and leaves you with the assurance that the food you preserve at home is safe and the highest quality possible. Whatever your reasons for canning food at home, you have come to the right place. Take a few minutes to browse some of the links for the latest information on home canning.  


    Did you know that because Utah's elevation ranges dramatically, canning in our state requires special attention and changes to canning times and pressures?  See the chart below for specific SALT LAKE COUNTY recommendations for high elevations followed by further information and resources. 

    Need a Good Salsa Recipe?
    We are often asked for a tested and safe salsa recipe that actually tastes good and is not too "vinegarish".  Here are some taste-tester favorites from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.
    Fiesta Salsa
    Zesty Salsa
    Customized Salsa

    Acidification for Tomatoes:
    To ensure safe acidity in whole, crushed, or juiced tomatoes, add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid per quart of tomatoes.  Acid can be added directly to the jars before filling with product.  Add sugar to offset acid taste, if desired.  Vinegar may also be used;  use 4 tablespoons of 5% acidity vinegar per quart.  However, vinegar may cause undesirable flavor changes.  We recommend the lemon juice or citric acid. 

    Steam Canners:
    The USDA does not recommend the use of steam canners due to inadequate research and testing.  However, Utah State University tested the steam canners and found them to be safe and adequate for processing certain goods, if used according to instructions and safe canning procedures.  Due to botulism poisoning potential, we DO NOT recommend that you use a seam canner for meat, tomatoes, and vegetables.  If you choose to use a steam canner for fruits, jams, and jellies, only USDA approved and tested recipes and canning times should be used.  Processing times for boiling-waterbath canners may be used for the steam canners.  It is very important to make sure that an eight inch plume of steam is present during the entire processing and water must not run out before the end of processing. 

    Ball 1-800 Number:
    Occasionally, you might have a food preservation/canning question during our after-office hours or on the weekend.  Please feel free to contact the Ball Canning Company at 1-800-240-3340 with your food preservation questions.  Be sure to request instructions for high altitude (4,000-6,000 feet) food preservation. The Ball Company may also be contacted via their website. 

    More Canning Resources:

    USDA Home Canning Guidelines and Recipes:

    Preserve the Harvest Fact Sheets
    Everything you need to know about preserving - varieties, drying, freezing, and canning!

    Freezing Fact Sheets

    Other Preserving Fact Sheets and Resources

    University of Georgia Fact Sheets

    Sometimes you are right in the middle of something and cannot get one of us at USU Extension. Here are some hotlines that might come in handy this holiday season (and all year through)….

    Meat & Poultry Hotlines

    USDA Meat & Poultry

    (800) 535-4555 or (888) 674-6854 Eastern Time, Monday through Friday. Closed weekends and holidays, except Thanksgiving. Special hours of operation on Thanksgiving are 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Eastern Time.

    Reynolds Turkey: 800-745-4000

    Butterball Turkey: 800-288-8372

    Pie Help Hotlines

    Crisco Pie Hotline (877) 367-7438

    Provides answers to the most common questions about baking pies for novice bakers as well as offering tips that will benefit the most seasoned baker. The hotline also offers the option for callers to connect to a live pie expert for pie baking guidance. Hours: 9 - 7 EST except for: Nov. 12 - 21 (8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EST) and Dec. 12 - 22 (8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EST).

    Land O' Lakes Holiday Bakeline (800) 782-9606

    Available through Dec. 24 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., CST, 7 days a week.

    Betty Crocker (888) ASK-BETTY (888-275-2388)

    Open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST weekdays; staffed year-round

    Fleischmann's Yeast Baker's Help Line (800) 777-4959

    Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CST Year round advice for bread bakers.

    Holiday Bake Line (800) 782-9606

    Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 - 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Have a food safety or preservation question?

    Our experts are here to help!

    1. Submit an online inquiry.
    2. Email your inquiry to
    3. Call our helpline at 385-468-4837

    Please note: Summer and fall are our busy seasons. Please be patient if we don't answer immediately. If you leave a message, we will get back with you as soon as possible.