Partnerships Produce a National Center for Home Food Preservation Research and Education

Andress, E.L., Harrison, J.A, Harrison, M.A., Kerr, W.L. and Nummer, B.A., The University of Georgia, Extension Foods and Nutrition, 208 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602-4356

Galaxy II Extension Professionals Conference, Salt Lake City, UT, September 23, 2003

About Us

The National Center for Home Food Processing and Preservation is a multi-institutional collaboration funded by with funding from the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (CSREES-USDA) with the University of Georgia as the primary institution. Scientists from Alabama A&M University and the University of California-Davis are partners. Experts in home food preservation from other U.S. universities and industry comprise an advisory committee.

Interest in home food preservation and processing remains high in the U.S., but methods must be continually evaluated against updated information in food safety. It is critical to provide educators and consumers with access to current science-based information concerning safety and quality issues regarding home processing of food, and to encourage adoption of revised practices. The Center was established to address food safety concerns for those who practice and teach home food preservation and processing methods. Therefore, the Center is creating, gathering, evaluating, and disseminating science-based recommendations and conducting research as needed in support of those recommendations.

The objectives being addressed include:
  • updating home food preservation recommendations through critical reviews of existing literature and additional laboratory evaluations;
  • development of a National Center website containing Cooperative Extension System recommendations and publications, as well as a new web-based curriculum on home food preservation available nationwide;
  • updating recommendations for Master Food Preservers and community cannery settings;
  • updating professionals and volunteers in the Extension System with food preservation findings; and,
  • production of a video series on home food preservation.
The faculty in the Center receive numerous requests for technical assistance and trainings from many other states as well as the home food preservation industries in the U.S. and Canada. Undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Georgia and Alabama A&M University are receiving educational benefits through their involvement in the research and curriculum development aspects of the Center's activity.

Project Team

The University of Georgia
Project Director  —  Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist
Co-Directors  —  Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Foods Specialist
Mark A. Harrison, Ph.D., Professor, Food Science and Technology
William L. Kerr, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Food Science and Technology
Collaborator  —  Anne L. Sweaney, Ph.D., Professor, Housing and Consumer Economics
Team Members  —  Brian A. Nummer, Ph.D., Project Coordinator
Elaine D'sa, Ph.D., Research Coordinator
Jimmy Hansen, Web Site Administrator

Alabama A&M University
Project Director  —  Lloyd T. Walker, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Interim Chair, Food and Animal Sciences
John C. Anderson, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Food and Animal Sciences


University of California-Davis
Linda Harris, Ph.D., Associate Cooperative Extension Specialist, Food Sciences and Technology
University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez
Edna Negrón, Ph.D., Professor and Head of Department, Food Science and Technology

Advisory Committee
University/Cooperative Extension
Evelyn F. Crayton, Ed.D., R.D., L.D., Professor and Extension Foods and Nutrition Specialist, Auburn University
Angela Fraser, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Food Safety Specialist, North Carolina State University
Linda Harris, Ph.D., Extension Food Safety/Microbiology Specialist, University of California_Davis
Virginia Hillers, Ph.D., Professor and Extension, Washington State University
Elizabeth Hoyle, M.S., Professor and Extension Food Specialist, Clemson University
Patricia Kendall, Ph.D., R.D., Professor and Food Safety Extension Specialist, Colorado State University
Karen Penner, Ph.D., Professor and Extension Specialist, Food Science, Kansas State University
Donna Scott, M.S., Food Safety Specialist and Senior Extension Associate, Cornell University
Christina Stark, M.S., R.D., Extension Nutrition Specialist, Cornell University Industry
Judy L. Harrold, Manager, Consumer Affairs, Alltrista Consumer Products Company
Jo Anne O'Gara, Home Economist, National Presto Industries, Inc.

Our Projects

Multiple strategies for making safe food preservation recommendations available are being used: critical literature reviews and publishing of results; original research; updating of existing USDA and Extension consumer publications; and establishing additional distribution channels for dissemination of guidelines, including a new website. The Center's website is the place to find information about the Center's projects and its findings, USDA home food preservation publications, Center publications, links to other Cooperative Extension System publications, multimedia (graphics, animations, slides, and video), and how-to guides. Other programs in development through the collaboration of the Center include a model volunteer-based Master Food Preserver Program, an instructional video series, and an original web-based curriculum on home food preservation. Evaluation strategies have been implemented to assess effectiveness.

  • Original research on microbial safety of various home food preservation methods and ingredients.
    • Microbiota of selected herbs and selected spices
    • Heat penetration studies in three sizes of pressure canners
    • Effect of fill weight and initial temperature on heat penetration in a boiling water canned relish
    • Garlic and oil mixtures
    • Curing and sausage making

  • Original product and process development for home canned foods.
    • Jicama relish
    • Tomatillo relish
    • Pepper sauces and pickled pepper rings
    • Mango salsa and chutney
    • Pickles with sugar substitutes
    • Tropical fruit jellies
    • Lemon curd

  • Developing guidelines for critical controls for home food preservation methods.
    • Curing and smoking of meats
    • Pickling and acidified foods
    • Canning
    • Freezing
    • Jerky
    • Jams/jellies and other sugar concentrates

  • Original research on microwave blanching of some vegetables.

  • Original research to validate processes for community canneries and metal can processes.

  • Finding, reviewing and synthesizing relevant scientific literature.

  • Surveys of home food preservation practices and needs assessment with Extension educators.
  • Original website -
  • CSREES-USDA Complete Guide to Home Freezing
  • Updated CSREES-USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning
  • Model Master Food Preserver curriculum
  • On-line self-study course for educators, volunteers and 4-H members
  • Instructional video series
  • Workshops for Extension professionals and other educators if requested
Building Linkages
  • Developing a network of scientific and educational expertise and identifying the best resources for educating home food preservers
  • Working with home canning industry on product development and recommendations
  • Working with government agencies to insure consistency of consumer food safety recommendations
  • Representing resources of the Cooperative Extension System to the public

USDA Complete Guides
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Univ. of Georgia Factsheets and Resources
Features from Other Universities
Other Government Publications

Useful Links
Your State University
Equipment and Ingredients

Seasonal Tips
Special topics organized by season

For Educators
Surveys (and situational information)
Historical Information
Special Additional Resources

Search Our Site
Search specific state Extension publication sites

Ask Us
Info Request
if you haven't found your answer

"How do I ...?"
Cure and Smoke
Make Jam & Jelly

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Jellied Fruit Products

Slide Shows
Graphics Galleries
Video Clips

And More About Us ...
Project Summary
Presentations and Papers
Site Information


National Center for Home Food Preservation
208 Hoke Smith Annex
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602-4356

Tel: (706) 542-3773
Fax: (706) 542-1979