In today’s episode we interview Melanie Jewkes, Extension Professor with Utah State University. She’s a wealth of knowledge and has been in her position for over a decade. She enjoys preserving, sharing up to date information with others, and was so gracious to join us for an episode.
Melanie helps set up spring and summer webinars where people can learn before canning season more up to date canning information. She helps run the Master Food Preserver program as well.
In her role at USU, she helps field hundreds of canning related questions yearly and she says the biggest issue facing new canners is not realizing that there’s a science behind preservation and canning and not knowing that there’s a safe way to preserve.
We discussed what to do if a cooperative extension office isn’t near you and how pH meters are used both correctly and incorrectly at home.
Melanie shared a horror story perfect for this Halloween week episode: A caller explained how she and “canned” chicken, left it on her countertop and she discovered it was already rotting. After careful questioning, Melanie realized the woman was following directions for pressure COOKING (ie in an InstantPot) rather than pressure canning. She had pressure canned her chicken for only 10 minutes, and thank goodness the jars showed signs of spoilage in under 24 hours.
Melanie shared also that the bot toxin can begin to grow, if present inside sealed jars at the 24 hour mark. So, the directions for re-processing jars includes this window- jars must be re-processed before 24 hours has passed.
We hope to have Melanie back on the show soon; thanks, Melanie!