Food Safety is the Name of the Game at the Fair

7530239226_fc09ed7e51_oWhether you’re canning jams and jellies, fermenting veggies or pickling foods for the Fair, food safety should be the name of the game. And this year, DC State Fair expects the best of the best when it comes to preserved foods; not only in taste and texture but in the quality of the product.

Humans have been canning food since the late 18th century when Napoleon Bonaparte asked for a solution to the navy’s food spoilage problems. And they have been fermenting foods since 7000 BC when they discovered that they could ferment fruit, rice and honey to produce alcoholic beverages. Though these processes go back hundreds and thousands of years, proper procedures still must be taken today to ensure a product is safe to consume.

Unfortunately, if the preservation process is done incorrectly, harmful bacteria, fond of tightly packed food products, can grow in your food. That’s why it is important to follow proper procedures when preserving foods. If you are going to be involved in canning, pickling or fermenting foods this summer, consider reading up on safe processes and methods from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and University of Minnesota Extension.

And if you’re entering a fair contest, make sure to follow the following rules:

  1. All entries must be exhibited in clear glass, standard home-canning jars in half-pint (8 oz.), pint (16 oz) or quart (32 oz.) size. Products in fluted or blue-tinted jars will not be accepted. Use self-sealing jars only with two-piece metal canning lids (flat lid and band).
  2. The lid (not the glass) must be labeled with the product name and the date processed.
  3. All jars must be clean and have lids and bands free from mold and rust.
  4. All entries must have been processed after September 28, 2013. (No entries should have been canned prior to September 28, 2013.)
  5. All entries must be shelf-stable. Entries preserved in alcohol, entries that require refrigeration, fermented foods, unsealed jars, entries canned with paraffin, and entries that show signs of spoilage will not be accepted.

When you enter the jam & jelly, pickled foods and fermented vegetable contests, we ask that you do so, ready to use the utmost safety standards. Remember that the picked foods contest entry deadline is Sept 13th whereas the jam & jelly and fermented vegetable contests entry deadlines are Sept 15th.

The DC State Fair is proud to announce Whole Foods P Street and Tenleytown as our sponsors of the 2014 Pickling Contest! Winning entries using any ingredients purchased at Whole Foods Market (please provide a receipt when dropping off your entry) will be eligible to display their recipe at an upcoming event at a Whole Foods market in DC.

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