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Canning -- Miscellaneous

Does the acidity in food make a different in how they are preserved?

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Most foods we eat are acidic, with the exception of meat (pH 7.0), egg white (pH 7.0 - 9.0), and hominy (pH 6.8 - 8.0). Food preservation methods are determined by the level of acid in the food. Foods that have a pH of 4.6 or higher are classified as low acid and must be processed in a pressure canner. Those foods with a pH of less than 4.6 contain enough acid to be safely processed in a boiling water bath canner. Foods that are close to the 4.6 cutoff point need careful canning to be sure their pH doesn't go above 4.6. This means not using old or damaged produce and adding an acidifying agent when recommended.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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