National Center for Home Food Preservation

E. L. Andress. Department of Foods and Nutrition Extension, University of Georgia, 208 Hoke Smith Annex, Athens, GA 30602-4356.

Paper 25-4. Presented at the Institute of Food Technologists Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, July 13, 2003.


Home food preservation remains a popular cultural activity. It is critical that those who practice preserving and processing foods at home have access to the most reliable information available concerning food safety and food quality. The National Center for Home Food Processing and Preservation (NCHFP) was established with funding from the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES-USDA) in 2000 as a multi-institutional effort with The University of Georgia and Alabama A&M University as the primary institutions. Expert scientists in home food preservation from industry and eight other U.S. universities comprise an advisory committee for the Center.

The Cooperative Extension System (CES) and USDA have a long history of being recognized as credible sources for science-based recommendations; however, a recent survey by the Center revealed that USDA and the CES were no longer being cited as primary sources of instructions for home canning and freezing. The same survey also revealed that a high percentage of home food processors are using practices that put them at risk for foodborne illness and economic losses due to food spoilage.

The Center is conducting outreach activities and research in food microbiology and food quality, in the validation of new and existing preservation methods. The objectives being addressed include: (1) updating home food preservation recommendations based on critical reviews of existing literature and additional laboratory evaluation and scientific validation; (2) development of a National Center website ( containing USDA, NCHFP and CES recommendations and publications, as well as a new web-based curriculum on home food preservation; (3) updating professionals and volunteers in the Extension System with food preservation findings; and, (4) production of a video series on home food preservation. University undergraduate and graduate students are receiving educational benefits through their involvement in the research and curriculum development aspects of the Center's activity.


Modern Methods of Home Food Preservation

USDA Historical Support

USDA Home Canning History

1970's Reported Botulism
1974-78 Acidulation and metabiosis
USDA Eastern Regional Research Lab
1981-88 Processing times re-evaluated
Penn State University funded projects

USDA Historical Support

Cooperative Extension System

National Center for Home Food Processing and Preservation

National Center for HFP

National Center for Home Food Processing and Preservation

University of Georgia Team

Alabama A&M University Team

Other Collaborators

Advisory Committee

Composed of individuals from


Product Development

Applied Research

Other Research Questions

Other Research Questions

Why ??

Do people still can (preserve) food at home?


National Survey 2000

Current Canning Practices

Current Canning Practices

Methods of Canning Fruits and Tomatoes
Boiling water 58 %
Pressure canner 15 %
Pressure cooker 18 %
Open kettle 21 %
Oven 4 %

Slide 26: Current Canning Practices

Methods of Canning Vegetables
Pressure Canner 30 %
Pressure cooker 29 %
Boiling Water 40 %
Open kettle 16 %
Oven 3 %

Current Canning Practices

Dial Gauge Testing
Yes* 24 %
No 59 %
No dial gauge 11 %
  • * 46% at hardware store, 31% at Extension Service
  • 1 at appliance repair store, 1 by "mother"

Botulism from Home Canned and Processed Foods, 1970-80

(bar graph of numbers of cases and outbreaks, annually, from 1970-1980)

Other Work in Process


Other Work in Process

Communications and Education

Other Work in Process

Communications and Education


This material is based upon work supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 00-51110-9762.

Document Use:

Permission is granted to reproduce these materials in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit beyond the cost of reproduction) provided the authors and the University of Georgia receive acknowledgment and this notice is included:

Reprinted with permission of the University of Georgia. Andress, E.L. 2003. National Center for Home Food Preservation. Athens, GA: The University of Georgia, Cooperative Extension Service.

References to commercials products, services, and information is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the University of Georgia, U.S. Department of Agriculture and supporting organizations is implied. This information is provided for the educational information and convenience of the reader.

The University of Georgia and Ft. Valley State University, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and counties of the state cooperating. The Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences offers educational programs, assistance and materials to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. An Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Organization Committed to a Diverse Work Force.


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

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