Tomatoes, Onions, and Peppers, Oh my!

Don’t let your harvest become a hazard!

by Beth Mossman – September 6, 2018

All of the rain this summer has really made gardens grow. What can you do with the mass amounts of veggies that you’ve harvested? You could try to eat them all, you could leave them on other people’s doorstep, or you could learn to preserve them and enjoy the fruits of your labor all winter.

Penn State Extension is hosting classes on home food preservation. Another round of classes will be held in Mansfield and Wellsboro in October on “Introduction to Preserving.” Master Food Preserver, Kim Furry, discusses the basics of home preservation in this introductory class. Important things such as determining the safe and appropriate processing method based on the acidity of the food item, are covered. Safe recipes, selecting and inspecting equipment, boiling water processing, pressure canning, atmospheric steam canning, dehydrating, air drying, and fermenting are important things discussed during the class.

Don’t turn your harvest into a HAZARD! A very important part of the home food preservation classes is avoiding common preservation mistakes. The major mistakes can be deadly, one of these is making up your own recipe. Another is changing a recipe that results in a change in the acidity, which could cause botulism poisoning. All of the information covered in these classes have been scientifically tested and proven safe if there is no deviation from the directions using approved resources. Penn State Extension has a series of fact sheets called Let’s Preserve. There are over twenty different publications with easy to follow directions and recipes for the home food preserver and all can be downloaded for free. There are also Learn Now videos you can access as well at Extension’s website here.

There are also hands-on classes, like the one offered on August 29th, where we got to get our “hands dirty” by participating in canning salsa. Participants worked as a team throughout the process, from inspecting and preparing jars; preparing ingredients; filling the jars; and using the boiling water bath canner to process and preserve homemade salsa.

More classes will be offered throughout the fall. For more information about future classes, you may check on Facebook: Penn State Extension Endless Mountains. You can also sign up for email notification of classes near you by signing up at the link provided and sharing your preferences. Make sure to check “Home Food Preservation” under areas of interest in the “Food Safety & Processing” section or contact:

Kim Furry, Master Food Preserver at 570-724-9120 or, or Amber Demon, Extension Educator, Food, Families, and Health at 570-265-2896 or

More useful information can be found at:
Penn State Extension Let’s Preserve Series: (
National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP) (
Put it Up- Food Preservation for Youth, NCHFP (
USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, 2015 (
So Easy to Preserve, 6th edition book, or DVD (

Idea/Concept: Beth Mossman
Videography: Ethan Chabala
Video Editing: Ethan Chabala
Writing: Beth Mossman
Correspondent: Beth Mossman

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, Matthews Motor Company

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