Botulism doesn’t sound like anything I want to mess around with!
So why am I not afraid?
Because it is a canning risk that is actually easy to avoid.
Did you know that Clostridium Botulinum spores are on most fresh food surfaces? It is in the dirt, it is just about everywhere.
The spores are harmless on fresh foods. However, when certain conditions exist, these spores will germinate, multiply, begin dying, and then produce a deadly toxin.
It is this toxin that causes serious food poisoning known as botulism.
The conditions where the spores become dangerous are:
Sounds just like the conditions in canned foods! Both home canned or commercially canned.
Botulism spores at temperatures above 240 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only achievable in a pressure canner.
As a home canner, If you follow the recommended guidelines, and process your foods with the correct canning methods you should have no problems.
As an added
precaution it is sometimes suggested that you boil low acid foods for 10 minutes before serving.
This includes all vegetables and meats.
There is apparently some debate even among extension services about whether this is a necessary step. To read more about this click here....
If you choose to take this extra step here are some directions. It is really very easy.
Boil for 10 minutes, plus one minute per 1,000 feet above sea level. Home canned spinach and corn should be boiled for 20 minutes before eating.
This is especially important at higher altitudes and in the Western United States. According to my local extension service, soil in the area from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean contains higher rates of Type A Chlostridium Botulinum.
This is a great resource if you want to learn more...
Canning Methods - which one to choose?
Step by step: Pressure Canning
Step by Step: Water Bath Canning
Sterilizing Canning Jars