Chickens in the garden

I planted a fall crop of spinach and lettuce. We have free range chickens who roam about the garden, etc. Should I wash/soak the spinach and lettuce in vinegar before eating. I didn’t think about fencing it in. I hate for it to go to waste, but want to be sure it will be safe to eat. I don’t see any visible signs that the chickens have been in those patches, but they do have access and love to forage in the garden.

Bea Ward
St. Paris, Ohio

Personally, I would just rinse these crops extra well before eating. Unless you see signs of chicken poop on and around these leafy greens, you should be just fine. — Jackie

Water blowing out of jars during canning process

I just emptied my batch of carrots. 16 pints, I stacked them with a tray in between. I noticed that the water in the canner is orange. Did I do something wrong to make the jars leak? Are they okay?

Erica Kardelis
Helper, Utah

Probably you either did not all quite enough headspace in your jars or the pressure fluctuated (over the pounds pressure needed for canning, then you noticed it climbing and turned down the heat?) during processing. This causes some of the water in the jars to blow out during processing, resulting in your orange water. As long as the jars sealed and were processed correctly, they’ll be fine. — Jackie


  1. Jackie, after finding and nearly reading all your blogs, you need a sign over your stove that says “They’ll Be Fine.” You ‘talk’ so calm to all us worriers. I’ve seen those three little words come up often in your answers. Thank you btw, I have shared this site with several of my friends, and they have been enjoying it as much as I have.

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