CORVALLIS, Ore. – As canning season gets underway, the Food Safety and Preservation hotline from Oregon State University Extension Service starts taking calls July 12.
The toll-free hotline, 800-354-7319, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, until Oct. 8. When the hotline is closed, callers can leave a message. The hotline is staffed by certified Master Food Preserver volunteers in Lane and Douglas counties, but is available statewide.
Most commonly, hotline callers ask about preserving salsa, tomatoes and tuna. OSU Extension offers publications on each: Salsa Recipes for Canning, Canning Seafood, Canning Tomatoes and Tomato Products and Safely Canning Foods: Pressure Canners, Pressure Cookers and Electric Pressure Cookers.
Launched in 1980 in Lane County, the Master Food Preserver program has grown to include more than 300 Master Food Preservers who must complete an eight-week course to be certified and start volunteer shifts on the hotline.
Extension’s Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer service, is another way to get information. Post a question and an expert will get back to you within 48 hours. They can offer information about anything related to food preservation from safety concerns to recipes.
There’s also a free app – Canning Timer & Checklist – that provides reminders of essential steps in the canning process.
Additionally, many Extension offices offer free pressure canner dial gauge testing. Hotline volunteers can provide you with information specific to your county.