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Preserving fresh food? New resources available in English and Spanish

K-State and MU collaborated on tips for preserving fresh food.

farmers marketsReleased: July 25, 2016

MANHATTAN, Kan. – With so much fresh produce available at the moment, many families are looking to freeze, can, or dehydrate food to save it for winter. Kansas State University and the University of Missouri extension have teamed up to produce a newsletter in English and Spanish and videos available online to help cooks safely capture the tastes of the summer to enjoy well past the growing season.

“Lots of berries like blackberries and blueberries are in grocery stores and farmers markets,” said Karen Blakeslee, food science associate with K-State Research and Extension of what can be found in mid-summer.

“Bigger fruits like peaches are starting to come into season and melons are starting to appear in roadside produce stands,” she added. “For vegetables, cucumbers are starting to produce to make into pickles and sweet corn is being picked. Green beans are really popular here in Kansas. Summer squash such as zucchini and yellow squash are ready, and tomatoes are starting to ripen to use fresh or to preserve. So lots of fruits and vegetables are available right now and a farmers market is a great place to find them.”

“Right now you won’t see any winter squash; those will be available in the fall,” Blakeslee said, including pumpkins and spaghetti squash. “Some of the spring vegetables are done producing like asparagus and fresh green peas. Those are probably not what you’re going to see at a farmers market or even at some grocery stores.”

When searching for fresh foods, knowing what foods are not fresh can be equally as important.

The most important part about preserving food, Blakeslee said, is ensuring the food you’re preserving is fresh. If you start with bad food, it’s still going to be bad food after it’s preserved. She provided several tips.

  • Use food that is in good condition. Discard diseased and moldy food. Trim off damage or decay.

  • Preserve food as soon as possible, preferably, the same day it is harvested.

  • Always wash produce to remove dirt and other debris.

  • Peel root crops, underground stem crops and tomatoes to reduce bacteria, yeast and mold contamination.

  • To preserve the safest food, use tested recipes, good food, and ensure your equipment is in good condition.

“Follow tested recipes. We have several recipes on our website or through our extension offices,” Blakeslee said. “I have a website that has a lot of good resources for recipes, it’s the (K-State) Rapid Response Center website and there is a section for food preservation resources and information.”

More information on food preservation is available in English and Spanish and in the newsletter, as well as the K-State Research and Extension You Tube channel. Local extension offices across Kansas and Missouri also have resources on preserving fresh foods or visit the Rapid Response Center website.

“Enjoy this time of year. This is a great time to preserve food so you can have some fresh tasting food during the winter months,” Blakeslee said.


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and regional research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus, Manhattan.

Story by:
James Schmidt
K-State Research and Extension

For more information:
Karen Blakeslee – kblakesl@k-state.edu or 785-532-1673