CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County OSU Extension Office is offering free canning pressure testing for Pickaway County families looking to preserve their produce.

On Aug. 3 in the parking lot of the OSU Extension Office, 110 Island Road, people can receive information and have their dial gauge pressure canners tested.

Michelle Treber, educator with the OSU Extension Office shared the benefits of canning but that there are also issues that can affect food safety.

“Home canning is a relatively simple process, but many variables can affect your finished product,” she said. ”There are so many resources with unsafe information that it is important to make sure you are following the most recent safe home canning guidelines.”

Treber outlined some of those guidelines.

“One guideline for home canning foods safely is using a pressure canner to process low-acid foods, such as vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish,” she explained. “These low-acid foods must be pressure canned at the recommended time and temperature to destroy Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism food poisoning. Home canning low-acid foods in boiling water canners is absolutely unsafe because 212 degrees is not high enough to destroy botulinum bacteria.”

Terber noted that most people understand the dangers, especially when pressure canners can blow up.

“It is important to realize that pressure canners are safe if the safety precautions are followed and the canner is used properly,” Treber continued. “Dangers arise when the unit isn’t maintained and/or used properly. To make sure your pressure canner is working properly, all dial-gauge pressure canners should be tested for accuracy each year.”

Call ahead and make an appointment to use the service by calling 740-474-7534. Appointments take about 15-20 minutes.

“You only need to bring the pressure canner lid to be tested,” she said.

Treber added that anyone taking advantage of the opportunity will not be entering the office but rather they’ll be picked up outside in the upper back parking lot.

“I will pick up their lid and return it to them to make sure we’re practicing safe social distancing,” she concluded.

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