Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2019

pH testing: Why, when and how

pH testing: Why, when and how    Acidified products like salsa, pickles and fermented products control the acidity level  to prevent microbial growth. If you make these products, you must verify that that each batch--even if you used a research tested recipe-has a pH reading of ≤4.6. The lower the better.  Use a pH meter and test 1 jar per batch 24 hours after canning or processing the product. Test the pH of fermented products when fermentation is completed. Document results using this  form  or another method.   A batch is each mixture. For pickles, as an example, each pot of brine is considered a batch. Let's say, you make a brine and add the brine to 9 pints of cucumbers. You seal the jar and process them in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes. This is one batch. Of the 9 pints, you would test the pH of 1 jar, 24 hours after canning it. Learn more about pH testing: A Guide to pH Measurement in Food and Drink.   Our Daily Brine.  Measuring pH of Salsa  video. SDSU Extensio

Why some food is considered potentially hazardous?

Why some food is considered potentially hazardous? Potentially hazardous food (PHF) contains moisture and acidity levels that favor the growth of disease causing microorganisms. These foods must be kept cold or hot to keep microbes from growing to levels that can make someone sick.    The new term for PHF is TCS-time-temperature control for safety. Custard, pudding, cakes with custard filling, meringue, cheese cake, pumpkin, cream or custard pie are examples of TCS food requiring time-temperature for food safety. A food license and commercial kitchen is needed to make and sell these items.  Non-potentially hazardous foods are those that control the moisture or acidity level so growth of disease causing microorganisms can't grow. These foods are usually shelf stable and don't need time and temperature control for food safety. Only non-potentially hazardous foods are allowed to be produced and sold under the Minnesota cottage food licensing exemption. The finished product mu

Can I use natural or green sanitizers to sanitize food contact surfaces?

A: Dr. Annie, a microbiologist, did independent testing on over 50 household cleaning products to answer this question. Dr. Annie tested products , including Thieves by Young Living and Sol-U Guard by Melaleuca, for their effectiveness against Norovirus. Heat or chemicals are two valid methods to sanitize food contact surfaces effectively. Ohio State University has information on using inexpensive household food-safe products like chlorine bleach, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to sanitize.  When choosing a sanitizing product for your cottage food kitchen look for: A label stating designed for food contact surfaces. Label stating a reduction in microorganisms to 99.999% within 30 seconds. Unscented, fragrance-free products (Most scents and fragrances are not food-grade). Products certified by third party organizations like Green Seal, EcoLogo or Design for the Environment.  EPA-assigned establishment number, as opposed to an EPA registration number, required for a products or technol

Q: Decorating with glitter? Is it edible?

A: Decorating with glitters, powders and dust is a popular way  to add some sparkle to cakes, cookies and cake pops. Some    products promoted for food decorating contain non-edible or t oxic  ingredients and have caused illnesses. Therefore, in 2018 the Minnesota Department of Agricul ture advises bakers to  avoid use of non-edible decorative products. When choosing decorations: Read labels. If it is edible, a list of ingredients is required. Look for "edible" on the label. Non-toxic does not mean edible. Don't use products labeled "for decorative purposes only". If the product does not have an ingredients list, don't use it. If you use non-edible decorations or toppers, tell your customers to remove before eating. Create your own glitter using gelatin and  edible luster dusts or powdered food colors .