Preserving Q & A

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Q & A

  1. When is the peak food preservation season? 

Peak season for home canning runs from Late April to August, usually when we start to see farm stands and markets open for the season! We start to see the introduction of produce such as peas, asparagus, and strawberries, and then by the middle of summer, we are in full force with a variety of fresh produce available. We want to preserve fresh produce at its peak freshness for the best quality. However, food preservation encompasses much more than just canning. From pressure canning, water bath canning, freezing, dehydration, or pickling and fermentation there are many options that best suit your comfortability level, space, and resources!

  1. I am about to bring my pressure canner out of storage, how do I know the dial gauge is correct? 

The best way to know if your dial gauge on a pressure canner is correct is by bringing it to your local Extension Center to get it tested by a professional. Whether it is a new or an old dial gauge, we recommend getting it tested before you start your canning season. If you have a dial gauge pressure canner that is a National (those made by the National Pressure Cooker Company, Eau Claire, Wisconsin), Magic Seal, Maid of Honor, or Presto® please contact me to set up a time to have your annual dial check! You can reach me at or 919.775.5624 to schedule your appointment today.

  1. I have a passed-down recipe but how do I know if it is safe to preserve? 

My favorite resource for preserving recipes is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. It is a very user-friendly website where you can search for a specific recipe or browse the article they have up there. Here you can find many recipes to choose from that are all tested by food safety experts. If you have a passed-down recipe that you are unsure of, you can try to find a similar recipe on a trusted resource to follow or you can call your local Extension center for guidance. Again, you can reach me at or 919.775.5624

Other websites and resources:

  • USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning
  • So Easy to Preserve (UGA)- many of these recipes can be found on the National Center for Home Food Preservation website.
  1. I need a refresher on proper food preservation methods, where can I find a class?

From pressure canning, water bath canning, freezing, dehydration, or pickling and fermentation there are many options that best suit your comfortability level, space, and resources! Whether you are a beginner or need a refresher and want to learn more about the safe and proper food preservation methods that you can do at home, please contact the Extension office to express your interest! Signing up for our Food and Nutrition Newsletter will notify you of when the classes will be held.

N.C. Cooperative Extension is an equal opportunity provider with a goal to provide the community residents with research-based knowledge. For more information on nutrition, health, food preservation, and food safety in Lee County please contact the Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Ashley Szilvay at or  919-775-5624.