Ensuring Quality Foods


Controlling microorganisms, enzymes, oxygen and moisture loss in food helps ensure a quality canned product. To achieve a top-quality finished product, start with top-quality fresh produce. Select produce at its peak of freshness and flavor, and choose varieties best suited for canning. Remember, preserving food does not improve its quality. It is best to can fruits and vegetables immediately after harvesting or purchasing. Any foods you are unable to can within a couple of hours must be properly stored to minimize further deterioration. When you are ready to can, carefully remove small diseased areas or bruised spots. Discard heavily diseased, moldy, insect-damaged and overripe food. Microorganisms multiply rapidly on damaged or diseased areas and may be at such high levels that the processing times, developed for quality foods, will not destroy all the microorganisms present in lesser-quality foods.

It is helpful to understand how acid and temperature affect molds, yeasts, bacteria and enzymes.

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