Story in Brief
About a third of home canners feel free to adapt the directions or procedures they are given in their own way, which can be hazardous. One of the biggest risks in home canning is when home food preservers don't know the difference between acid and low acid foods, increasing their botulism risk with open-kettle canning or water bath canning low acid foods (rather than pressure canning). These improper food preservation practices place home food processors at a high risk for botulism and other conditions, which can cause illness, and even death. The majority of food-borne botulism cases in the U.S. are from foods improperly processed in the home. Because of the pandemic, the Chattooga County Extension Family and Consumer Science agent developed a series of virtual Home Food Preservation classes that focused on home canning. The classes included Principles of Home Canning; Jams, Jellies, Preserves and other Sweet Spreads; Pressure Canning (canning of low-acid foods), and Fermentation of Canned Sauerkraut. The virtual series was advertised on social media platforms and attracted people from four states with over 200 people registering for the classes. The classes were delivered via Zoom and included content for each topic, a live demonstration, and polls and interactive virtual to engage participants. Participants from multiple audiences cited significant knowledge change regarding the science-based practices needed to keep their food safe throughout the food preservation process.