Killing the nasties

I’ve come late in life to food storage and I am still nervous. I have no problem doing pickles or jelly, but anything else, especially with meat in it, I’m terrified I’ll poison someone. Is there a way to ensure I don’t? Is there a temperature to bring it to when you cook it to serve that will ensure that the nasties are dead?

Sherri Sachs
Chicago, Illinois

I promise you that if you follow tried and true canning methods you won’t have any “nasties” to worry about. For all vegetables and meats it is always recommended that you bring the food to boiling for at least 10-15 minutes, just to be doubly sure. This can be boiling or baking (in a casserole or soup), just making sure you raise the temperature to boiling. If you don’t already have a good canning book, check out mine — it’s full of great how-to, plus tons of good recipes to can up safely. — Jackie

Canning bacon

I’ve been canning bacon per the instructions in Enola Gay’s article in #127 with great success. I’d like your opinion on trying something different: I cook bacon in the oven and it comes out tasty and flat (un-curled). Would there be a problem wrapping this cooked bacon in parchment and canning it “dry” (as 90% of the grease is gone) for the same amount of time?

Dan Norgard
Prescott Valley, Arizona

There would be no problem, processing-wise. You’ll just have to try it and make sure the bacon doesn’t turn to hard sticks during processing after cooking. Let us know how it turns out so we know too. (Do try a small batch at first as you are experimenting.) — Jackie

Wild strawberries

My question is I have wild strawberries that are threatening to take over my small vegetable garden and yard as well as my neighbours. Are they worth relocating? or should I do something else with them?

Jonathan Kean
Trenton, Ontario

Unless your wild strawberries make a berry bigger than mine do, I’d treat the strawberries as weeds. I know it hurts, but unless you have a large piece of ground and can transplant them to a useful area to establish, it wouldn’t be labor effective. — Jackie