SALT LAKE CITY -- It might be the economy or simply about being more "green." But agents at the Utah State University Extension Office in Salt Lake County think a renewed interest in gardening, and now canning, is likely due to both.
The office is dealing with a flood of calls from people who've spent the summer gardening and who now want to put that harvest on their shelves, or in their freezers.
"We've had increased phone calls and awareness," said Family Consumer Science Agent Melanie Jewkes.
Jewkes, for one, believes the art of canning seems to have skipped a generation. "Our parents and grandparents for sure often canned, but the last few years have kind of faded away. Now I think there's going to be a resurgence if there isn't already," she said.
Agents are happy to help, but Jewkes said they're also concerned that people do it right. "A lot of people are not doing safety approved recipes that have not been scientifically tested," she said. "And a lot of people will do a Google search or use recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation that may never have been tested."
Jewkes says in 1989 the USDA revamped its recommendations for canning and other food storing methods, so any unapproved recipe before that time may be suspect, at least according to federal guidelines.
The Utah State University Extension website ( extension.usu.edu/foodpreservation/) offers safe canning tips and links, but Jewkes says there are many other sites that also can help, such as homefoodpreservation.com.