Tough economic times spark rise in preserving foods

Thu Jul 9, 2009 10:55am EDT
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By Patricia Reaney

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Blame it on tough economic times, health concerns or a desire to get back to basics, whatever the reason more Americans are turning to preserving and canning food.

But the apron-clad mother of the 1950s surrounded by jars of home-made jams and jellies, has been replaced by young mothers, foodies and health enthusiasts of all ages and both sexes.

"We don't have hard data but there are numerous indicators (of an increase in preserving)" said Elizabeth Andress, a food safety specialist and the project director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation at the University of Georgia in Athens.

"It is across the board and it is men and women."

The center, which was established to provide science-based recommendations for home food preservation and is partly funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has seen a spike in hits on its website ( and more requests for information, classes and workshops about preserving food.

"One reason definitely has to do with the economy and people just wanting to garden and grow their own food again in an attempt to save money," Andress said.

With an abundance of home-grown fruits and vegetables ripening at the same time people are turning to preserving to make their harvest last longer.

Food safety issues and recalls of tainted foods have also contributed to the trend with consumers wanting to make sure their food is free of nasty bacteria.   Continued...