Skip to main content

Posts

Q: Can I sell extracts?

 A:  Extracts are not allowed as a cottage food product, mainly because of its alcohol content. An example would be vanilla extract. Normally, it's made from vanilla beans and alcohol (normally vodka but others are used). For vanilla extract to be called pure, the FDA requires that the solution contains a minimum of 35% alcohol and 100g of vanilla beans per liter. For MN cottage foods to contain alcohol (flavorings, candy filling, wine jelly, etc.) the final alcohol content cannot be more than one-half of one percent by volume. These types of products need to be tested at a commercial lab for alcohol content. If a product contains more than one-half of one percent by volume, the MN Department of Public Safety handles the regulations/requirements.
Recent posts

Q: Can I sell at my products at a local store hosting a local vendor fair?

 A: No. This would not be considered a community event since it is at a private retail shop. Cottage food producers cannot sell in a retail store, even if you are present for the sale or vendor fair. Farmers' markets and craft fairs are considered community events.   No pop-up shop in the store parking lots either. You would have need a food license to sell product at retail store. 

Q: Why aren’t home-canned white peaches or nectarines allowed as a cottage food product?

A: Home-canned white peaches and nectarines were added to the Minnesota cottage food list  as 'not allowed' when the list was updated in June 2021. As we learn more about food products and evidence, they are high-risk food items or ones that do not meet the pH or water activity parameters they are added to the food list as not allowed.  Recent research revealed varieties of white-flesh peaches and nectarines have a higher pH (lower in acid) than traditional yellow varieties. The natural pH of white peaches or nectarines can exceed 4.6, making them a low-acid food for canning purposes and a potentially hazardous food, therefore not allowed as a cottage food product. Additionally, there is no tested low-acid pressure canning processes available for white-flesh peaches or nectarines, nor a researched acidification procedure for safe boiling water canning.  The good news is that yellow-flesh peaches or nectarines may be safely home-canned. They have a natural pH higher than 4.6, th

Q: Can I use tapioca starch to thicken BBQ or hot sauce?

A: No. To make barbecue (BBQ) or hot sauces, tomatoes are combined with spices, vinegar, and various other ingredients and blended until smooth. The mixture is simmered to reduce the volume and thicken the product which takes about 1½ to 2 hours with frequent stirring. You may want to skip the lengthy simmering step and use a thickener instead. Unfortunately, thickening home-canned or jarred sauces with tapioca, cornstarch, or flour, may be a safety risk. The use of tapioca, cornstarch or flour as the thickener in home-canned or jarred sauces is an outdated and risky method. Botulism is not a major risk with BBQ or hot sauces because of the high acid content. However, using cornstarch, flour or tapioca may cause the sauce to be too thick for the heat to penetrate to the center of the jar and kill spoilage organisms throughout the product, which is a food safety issue.  There is a safe alternative to thicken home-canned or jarred sauces called Clear Jel®. Regular Clear Jel® is made to

Q: Are pumpkin or squash preserves allowed?

  A: No. Pumpkin and squash preserves are not an allowable cottage food product. Pumpkin is a low acid vegetable with a pH hoovering around 5.0. and cannot be safely canned in the boiling water bath process.  Currently, the USDA nor National Center for Home Food Preservation have any tested recipes to recommend for safely canning pumpkin preserves (jams, jellies, conserves, or pumpkin butter) and then storing them at room temperature. These pumpkin products must be stored in the refrigerator or freezer and treated the same as fresh pumpkin therefore are not an allowable cottage food product. Source:  Home-Preserving Pumpkins . National Center for Home Food Preservation. 2015.