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Food Preservation

Pressure canner with some canned green beans next to it and some fresh tomatoes and green beans in front of it.

Contact Information

June Puett
Extension Agent
Phone: (423) 855-6113
Email: jpuett1@utk.edu

Food preservation is the process of treating and handling food to stop or greatly slow down spoilage (loss of quality, edibility or nutritive value) caused or accelerated by micro-organisms. Maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavor is important in preserving its value as food.

Preservation usually involves preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other micro-organisms, as well as retarding the oxidation of fats which cause rancidity. It also includes processes to inhibit natural aging and discoloration that can occur during food preparation such as the enzymatic browning reaction in apples after they are cut. Some preservation methods require the food to be sealed after treatment to prevent recontamination with microbes; others, such as drying, allow food to be stored without any special containment for long periods.   

Common methods of applying these processes include drying, spray drying, freeze drying, freezing, vacuum-packing, canning, preserving in syrup, sugar crystallization, food irradiation, and adding preservatives or inert gases such as carbon dioxide. Other methods that not only help to preserve food, but also add flavor, include pickling, salting, smoking, preserving in syrup or alcohol, sugar crystallization and curing.

UT Extension offers Food Preservation classes several times each year at various locations around Chattanooga.

To be added to the interest list for the next Food Preservation Classes, please call the Extension Office at (423) 855-6113 or email Agent June Puett at jpuett1@utk.edu.

Additional Resources:

  • Canning Timer & Checklist App  from Oregon Extension Service – Generate a checklist and timer for processing over 50 popular foods. Set jar size, pack type, canning method, and elevation. Designed for people with previous canning experience.
  • Penn State University Webinars  – Free and inexpensive ($5).