We have been so lucky with not having any major flooding issues in our county this year. Here are some tips should you have water damage with your food at any time. Follow these steps to keep your FOOD SAFE during and after flood conditions.
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
Discard any food and beverage that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water.
Food containers that are waterproof include undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and “retort pouches” (like flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches).
Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screwcaps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps.
Also discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
Discard any food in damaged cans. Damaged cans are those with swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting that is severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener. See box on next page for steps to clean/save undamaged packages.
Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented household (5.25% concentration) liquid bleach per gallon of water.
Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented household (5.25% concentration) liquid bleach per gallon of water. Allow to air dry.
Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period. Fifty pounds of dry ice should keep an 18 cubic foot, fully stocked freezer cold for two days.
Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and “retort pouches” (like flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you follow this procedure.
Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
Sanitize cans and retort pouches by immersion in one of the two following ways:
Place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes.
Place in a solution of 1 cup (8 oz/) of unscented household (5.25% concentration) bleach mixed with 5 gallons of water and soak for 15 minutes.
Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date, with a permanent marking pen.
8. Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible.
Educational programs of Kentucky Cooperative Extension serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.
You will enjoy the many pickle recipes you can make with those extra cucumbers. Bread and Butter Pickles are always a family favorite. For all your free canning publications check with the Extension Office.
Bread and Butter Pickles
6 pounds (4 to 5 inches) pickling cucumbers
8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 3 pounds)
½ cup canning salt
4 cups vinegar
4 ½ cups sugar
2 tablespoon mustard seed
1 ½ tablespoon celery seed
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
Cut the ends off the cucumbers and slice into ¼ inch slices
Combine cucumbers and onions slices in a large bowl. Add salt. Cover with 2 inches of crushed or cubed ice. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours, adding more ice as needed. Drain. Combine vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric in a large saucepan. Boil 10 minutes. Add drained cucumbers and onions and slowly reheat to boiling.
Pack hot pickles and liquid into hot pint or hot quart jars, leaving ½ inch headspace at top. Be sure cucumbers and pickles are covered with the liquid. Remove air bubbles with plastic knife and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe jar rims with a clean paper towel. Apply new lids and rims and tighten. Process jars 10 minutes in boiling water canner. Make sure all jars are covered with the boiling water. After processing remove jars from water and place on a clean towel. Allow to set over night. Check for sealing and remove rims Clean rims to use another time. This will yield 8 pints or 4 quarts. Store canned jars and allow 4 to 5 weeks to develop idea flavor. If you do not want to can your pickles, store them in the refrigerator to eat.
The Farmer’s Market and other produce stands are booming and ready to serve you with fresh produce, canned items, meat and other food items. Visit the market uptown on Saturday from 8:00 to 2:00 and on Wednesday from 9:00 to 1:00.
We invite you to join our Pulaski County Extension Homemakers. Dues are $12 per year. Mailbox members can pay their dues at the Office. Active homemakers should pay their dues to their club treasurer.
Join our Card Making Class the 4th Monday of each month at 10:00 o’clock. You will learn a new technique each month.
The Calendar Food Class meets the 4th Tuesday of each month at 11:30 at the Extension Office. This month we will be making Baked Fish with Pineapple Salsa. Call the office to register by Monday, August 22.