An Interview with Chef Sarah Page of Ball® Fresh Preserving Test Kitchen

traditional dill pickles recipe from the Ball Canning Back to Basics cookbook

An Interview with Chef Sarah Page of Ball® Fresh Preserving Test Kitchen

Food & Drink

An Interview with Chef Sarah Page of Ball® Fresh Preserving Test Kitchen

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Logos for Ball and Kerr canning companies, author of Ball Canning: Back to Basics

Logos for Ball and Kerr from freshpreserving.com

What kind of tests happen in The Fresh Preserve Test Kitchen?

Most testing happens in the quality lab, with creation taking place in the test kitchen. We conduct pH testing on each recipe, to determine the acidity of the recipe, and with water-bath canning, the acidity levels keep it safe.

We also test the viscosity, or thickness and density, as well as sugar content in jams and jelly. The most thorough testing may be that for heat penetration, which tracks internal temperature against the pH levels and time. It’s all very necessary to ensure safe recipes for consumers.

What are the benefits of at-home canning?

Well, the most important benefit is that you know exactly what’s in the jar. When you buy from the supermarket, not to say all processed food is bad, but you have a lot less control over the contents. Plus, it’s hard to find canned foods without preservatives, which is why at-home canning is healthier and better. I’d say that’s the number one benefit.

What trends are coming with canning and preserving?

Pickling and fermenting are the two largest trends right now. However, ethnic micro-trends and authenticity trends, such as getting back to core recipes, are big. It’s very similar to ‘root cuisine’ and has a lot to do with understanding how something is made. It’s all about purity.

In the book, you have recipes for water-bath canning and refrigerator canning. What’s the difference?

Refrigerator canning can result in a crispier texture and fresher flavor, in less time. A quick pickling of red onions to top some tacos is something that can be achieved with refrigerator canning. Don’t be worried that quicker canning means less optimal results. Pickles firm up in the jar over time.

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