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State's food preservation hotline taking calls

Friday, August 3, 2018

Making blackberry jam? Canning some salmon?

Oregon State University Extension Service’s Food Preservation hotline can answer all your questions.

The toll-free hotline, 800-354-7319, takes calls from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays during canning season, mid-July to mid-October. Callers can leave a message during off hours.

The hotline is staffed by certified Master Food Preserver volunteers in Lane and Douglas counties, but it’s available statewide.

Thousands of callers use the hotline each year and about half the questions deal with food safety. That’s a good thing, said Jeanne Brandt, Master Food Preserver program coordinator.

“There is a tremendous amount of misinformation on the internet, so it’s hard to figure out what is reliable and what is unsafe,” she said. “That’s partly why the hotline is so important. Our volunteers know we have reliable, research-based information and they can guide people to success.”

While food preservation continues to be popular, it’s less a family tradition than it used to be.

“We aren’t learning from our family and friends much anymore and we don’t have them to call for directions and advice,” she said.

Most commonly, people ask about preserving salsa, tomatoes and tuna. The hotline can provide those answers.

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