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Can do! OSU food preservation hotline opens for the season

 Open glass jars of tomato sauce

If you’ve always wanted to make your own salsa, but you’re worried about safely preserving it, OSU Extension’s food preservation hotline can help you say “Can do!”

Jared Hibbard-Swanson is with OSU Extension. He said whereas cooking is seen as an art, canning is a science.

“Tomato canning instructions have changed over the years," said Hibbard-Swanson. "And if folks are using a recipe that maybe was handed down from their mom their grandma, it probably doesn’t have the addition of acid, which is really important because tomato varieties have been bred to be less acidic over time, and recent research has shown that we need to be adding lemon juice or vinegar to our tomatoes when we are canning.”

Hibbard-Swanson said of the 1,010 calls the hotline received last year, the most common questions were about tomatoes. Callers are concerned about family members or friends getting sick if recipes aren't followed correctly.

The hotline is staffed by master food preservers from Lane and Douglas counties. OSU also has an online question and answer service as well as fact sheets.

The food safety phone line is open weekdays from 9 am to 4 pm from July 10 through October 13. The number to call is 800-354-7319.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.