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Canning -- Miscellaneous

A consumer makes her own special sauce that she wants to can for holiday gifts and if so, how long should it be processed?

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Processing instructions are based on the destruction of C. botulinum If a product is properly acidified, the processing instructions are based on the destruction of spoilage organisms. Because C. botulinum cannot grow at pH values of 4.6 or less, there is no need to worry about its outgrowth. Therefore, the question is "Does this product have a pH of 4.6 or less?" If it does, then we could use a ketchup recipe as a guide for processing. It probably does, but it contains garlic powder and paprika. I have read in the literature that C. botulinum spores have been found in spice mixtures. When incorporated into a product that is not properly acidified they can grow. Therefore, because we do not know the pH and there are dried spices added, my recommendation is not to can but freeze. This is being extremely cautious but very safe.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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