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I have been canning for 15+ years. During that time, I have made my share of mistakes – hot jar on a cool counter, letting my finger tips get a little too close to the boiling water in the canner, forgetting to skim the foam off my jam – all mistakes that many of us have made, but none of them that could be fatal.
That might sound extreme but that’s exactly what happened this past April at a church potluck when people were served potato salad made from improperly canned potatoes. One woman died, and more than 30 others got sick. The cause – botulism.
Clostridium botulinum is the name of a group of bacteria. They can be found in soil. These rod-shaped organisms grow best in low oxygen conditions. The bacteria form spores which allow them to survive in a dormant state until exposed to conditions that can support their growth. — CDC
These spores can be killed several ways, with the two most common being acid and heat. [Read more…]