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Home Canning Safety Tips

Home canning has changed greatly in the last 200 years, and scientists have found ways to produce safer, higher quality food products. There are four keys to producing safe, good-tasting products:

1. Use appropriate equipment, jars, and self-sealing lids designed for home canning.

2. Foods should be free of bruises, insect damage, diseased spots, or mold.

3. Always thoroughly wash and trim produce. Wash hands, equipment, and work surfaces before preparation begins.

4. Use research-based recipes and methods for canning, whether for low-acid or high-acid foods.
Low-acid foods should be processed in a pressure canner, where the temperature can reach 240° at 10 pounds of pressure (more at higher altitude.

Low-acid foods have a pH value higher than 4.6 and include all fresh vegetables, red meats, seafood, poultry, and milk. The acidity in these foods is not enough to prevent the growth of the microorganism Clostridium botulinum, thus the need for pressure canning.

Acidified foods (foods we put acid in) may be processed in a boiling water bath. Acid foods include fruits, pickles, sauerkraut, jams, jellies, fruit butters, and tomatoes acidified with lemon juice. These have a pH value of 4.6 or lower. The acidity in these foods, along with a heat process of 212° for the correct amount of time, prevents the growth of Clostridium botulinum.

Understanding pectin and fruit
Pectin is a carbohydrate found in fruits. When sugar is added, the pectin in fruit or commercial pectin (such as Sure Jell) forms insoluble fibers. These fibers produce a honeycomb-like structure that traps the fruit juice or other liquid, forming a gel. Adding an acid, such as lemon juice or citric acid, aids in the process. There are two types of pectin—liquid and dry. They are not interchangeable. Low-methoxyl or low-sugar pectins allow you to make jams and jellies with less sugar but they will not be quite as thick or glossy.


HEALTH CLUB

Strength training for women
This is the final month of a four-month challenge for our Kentucky Living Health Club members. Make sure to check back in June when we’ll have a follow-up with their success stories.

Here is some helpful information shared on our private Facebook KL Health Club page:

Strength training or weightlifting is key in helping you to lose more weight, because you increase the size of the “engine” burning the calories. Muscle burns calories, even at rest, so the more muscle mass you have, the better.

Strength training also helps to protect the bone you have and build more bone to guard against osteoporosis. And, lastly, adding more muscle helps with balance and continuing to do the activities of daily life with ease.

The myth about women “bulking up” with weight training is simply that, a myth. The only way a woman would bulk up with weight training is if she was striving to be a body builder, taking steroids, or working out with weights for hours and hours per day.

If you go to a gym, you have free weights available, dumbbells specifically. If it fits the budget, consider having a certified personal trainer come up with a simple routine to teach you how to do it safely. Or purchase a book or DVD with some beginner dumbbell routines. Or do research online for basic exercises.

You want to do 8-10 exercises, which cover all the major muscle groups in the body: chest, back, shoulders, arms (both biceps and triceps), abs (abdominals), and upper and lower legs. Choose a weight that you can do 10 repetitions of each exercise. Start with one set of 10 repetitions, two times per week, and then work up to two sets and then three sets, as your time allows (and you can add a third day). Just be sure to allow a day of rest in between.

For example, a five-day routine would look like this: cardio on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and weight training on Tuesday and Thursday.

One of the things women often do is use too light of weights, so they don’t get the results they really want. Start light the first week, so you’re not sore. Then the second week, be sure they’re heavy enough that you can only do 10 repetitions.

—Lisa Capehart, exercise physiologist and certified wellness coach, from Foster

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