ALTON -- Pressure canner gauges can be checked this year by the University Extension Office at Alton.
As the season of home canning begins Extension officials said this is the perfect time for gauges to be tested.
A properly functioning canner gauge shows that low-acid foods are being processed at the required temperature.
"If the gauge is not accurate, the correct temperature for safe canning may not be met. When that happens, the bacteria for botulism can become high enough to cause serious illness or even death," said Extension Farm Management Specialist Stacy Hambelton.
The Oregon County Extension Office, located in the basement of the courthouse at Alton, is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will test gauges at no charge.
Hambelton reminds canners to always use only new standard rings and lids on canning jars and to also follow the recommended practices for canning from the University of Missouri guidesheets of the Ball Blue Book.
These free guidesheets are available at the Extension office and they come in a wide range of how-to help tips for preserving food that will help first year canners as well as those who have been canning for years.