Avoid baking in canning jars

Utilizing a canning jar for baked goods can cause food poisoning from the botulism toxin.

Once we put the turkey and dressing away after the Thanksgiving holiday, it seems like the clock has begun a countdown towards the next holiday. Magazines, blogs, and other sources are full of tips, recipes and ideas on making homemade gifts. This can be a wonderful idea, but some research needs to take place to determine if the recipes (or ideas) are food safe.

One idea that has become popular in recent years is breads and cakes baked in glass jars and then sealed with canning lids. These are not safe. According to the National Center of Home Food Preservation, breads and cakes cannot be safely canned. They are at risk of causing food poisoning from the botulism toxin. It suggested to prepare an item that can be baked and frozen in a food safe container, like a small loaf pan or baking foil.

The science tells us that these baked goods contain very little acid. When they are put in a sealed jar it could allow for the growth of Clostridium botulinum. It has been proven that this organism can survive the baking process and multiply in canned quick breads during storage.

In addition to dealing with the issues of botulism, placing canning jars in the oven, whether to bake or can food, is very dangerous. These jars are not designed to withstand the intense dry heat from an oven according to researchers at Penn State University. The dry heat may cause the jars to shatter in the oven or worse, breakage and burns when removing the jars from the oven.

Michigan State University Extension recommends reviewing your baking practices, check over the list of foods you wish to make and look for recipes that will be food safe. This means, avoid dishes with cream fillings that will need refrigeration, and stay away from some of the “trendy” ideas that may prove to be dangerous in the end. You want your gift to be memorable; not haunting.

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