Start Simple with Food Preservation

September 26, 2022 | Jody Gatewood

fresh canned vegetables

This time of year is one of our favorites.  The work of planning and planting a garden is behind us and now it is time to think about how to preserve our summer bounty.  Whether you are freezing, canning or dehydrating there are necessary steps to take to ensure both quality and safety.

It is important to look for research-based recipes when canning.  Research-based recipes ensure that foods will be preserved safely if the directions are exactly followed.  Remember, we are preserving food for our family and we don’t want to take any risks that someone will get sick.

If you are looking for research-based recipes for preserving your food, the National Center for Home Food Preservation is a great place to start.  Instructions are given for each of the methods of preservation.  The University of Georgia offers a preservation cookbook called So Easy to Preserve if you prefer a printed book.

If you like to learn from an expert, Preserve the Taste of Summer includes both publications and workshops (in-person and online) taught by our Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Human Sciences Specialists. There are upcoming dates available and you can use this link to find a class being taught near you.

The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning gives research-based recipes for canning fruits, vegetables and meats as well as fermented foods and jams and jellies.  It is available to print online or can be ordered in a spiral bound book.

Preserving Food At Home is a new publication put together by Penn State Extension that gives instructions for all methods of preservation using research-based guidelines.  It is arranged by food product, giving all methods of preservation for that product in one location.

There is comfort in knowing you are eating foods preserved safely.  If you have questions about food preservation send us an email or give us a call at AnswerLine.  We are here to help!

AnswerLine is available M-F from 9-12 and 1-4 at 1-800-262-3804 in Iowa, 1-800-854-1678 in Minnesota or 515-296-5883.  Or reach us through email at

Rachel Sweeney graduated from Iowa State University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Dietetics and Exercise Science. She enjoys gardening, cooking and baking, food preservation, traveling, being outside, and spending time with her family.

Beth Marrs graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. She loves to cook and entertain and spend time with her family.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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