CORVALLIS, Ore. – With canning season underway, the Food Safety and Preservation hotline from Oregon State University Extension Service is now taking calls.
The toll-free hotline, 800-354-7319, runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, until Oct. 7. When the hotline is closed, callers can leave a message. The hotline is staffed by certified Master Food Preserver volunteers in Lane and Douglas counties. The volunteers fielded 1,487 calls to the hotline in 2021.
Most commonly, hotline callers ask about preserving salsa, tomatoes and tuna. OSU Extension offers publications on each: Salsa Recipes for Canning, Canning Seafood, Canning Tomatoes and Tomato Products and Safely Canning Foods: Pressure Canners, Pressure Cookers and Electric Pressure Cookers.
Additional publications and fact sheets are available on the OSU Extension website.
Launched in 1980 in Lane County, the Master Food Preserver program has grown to include more than 300 Master Food Preservers who must complete an eight-week course to be certified and start volunteer shifts on the hotline.
Extension’s Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer service, is another way to get information. Extension experts can offer information about anything related to food preservation – from safety concerns to recipes – and strive to respond within two business days.
There’s also a free app – Canning Timer & Checklist – that provides reminders of essential steps in the canning process.
Additionally, several Extension offices offer free pressure canner dial gauge testing. Hotline volunteers can provide you with information specific to your county.