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                How safe are edible, homemade gifts?


                After one too many tacky ties or too-small sweaters, a gift of homemade jam or salsa can be a welcome respite from the overconsumption that permeates this time of year. But whether it's chutney, relish, pickles, condiments or nut butters, there are some important health factors to consider — for both the gift-giver and giftee.



                Do you know where your homemade jelly jar came from? (Photo: Dennis Jarvis [CC by SA 2.0]/Flickr)

                That doesn't mean you need to give up on your dreams on gifting your family and friends exquisite preserved lemons or spicy pickled okra, however. But a few tips from the experts will help to set both you and your gift beneficiary's mind at ease.


                Beware foodborne botulism



                Before you dig into a homemade jar of pickles, consider its provenance. (Photo: ArtemSh/Shutterstock)

                Botulism isn't just a tummy ache or queasiness. It's an illness caused by the germ Clostridium botulinum, which thrives in certain conditions, like, say, improperly canned carrots. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "You cannot see, smell, or taste botulinum toxin — but taking even a small taste of food containing this toxin can be deadly."


                No substitutions



                Boiling water bath canning is one of the easiest way to make shelf-stable jams and pickles at home. (Photo: K-State Research and Extension [CC by 2.0]/Flickr

                Now is not the time to put on your chef's hat and experiment in the kitchen. Perhaps you think you can plop some carrots in a jar of pickles, or add more peppercorns to your brine instead of vinegar. Alas, when you are dealing with this kind of chemistry, acid, bacteria, food density and pH levels are everything.


                When it comes to testing out your friend's well-meaning homemade gift, you might have to ask some awkward questions. Elizabeth L. Andress of the NCHFP states, "It may not be easy to ask questions of your gift-giver. But important things to think about include: where the recipe and canning instructions came from, when it was canned, and how it was made."

                當你要測試你朋友的善意自制禮物時,你可能不得不問一些尷尬的①問題。NCHFP的Elizabeth L. Andress說:“向送禮物的人提問可能並不容易。但需要考慮的重要事情包括:配方和罐裝說☉明來自哪裏,何時罐裝,以及如何◆制作。”

                When checking out a canned good, chunks of food should be covered with a liquid, with no discoloration or drying out on top. Look closely for unnatural discoloration, mold, cloudiness or bubbling liquid before you open it. If it smells off-putting or spurts liquid upon opening, play it safe and toss it. Even with all those warning signs, there can still be jars of toxic botulism that present no red flags at all.

                在挑選罐裝食品時,大塊的食物應該用液體覆蓋,上面不要↑變色或變幹。在你打開它之前,仔細檢查是否有不自然的變色、發黴、渾濁或冒泡的液體。如果〖它聞起來令人作嘔,或者一打開→就噴出液體,那就安全的扔掉它。即使有了所有這些警告信號,仍然可能存在有毒的肉∑ 毒中毒,完全沒有危險信號。

                It's not all doom and gloom, however. If you have your heart set on a homemade holiday, stick to high-acid, low-risk foods like peaches, cherries, plums, and cranberries, or cranberry sauce. Additionally, the high sugar content of fruit jams and jellies provide an extra measure of safety. If you're a novice, you might want to skip out on low-acid vegetables, creamed soups, pestos or vegetable butters — those are best left to the experts.


                Lastly, at the risk of permanently alienating friends and family, or coming off as a total Grinch, you'll want to make sure everyone involved has thoroughly washed their hands. It seems like a no-brainer, but 'tis the season for germs to spread. "It's not just the food, it's the environment,” Chapman warns. “Especially this time of year, we see norovirus being risky.”


                內容來自 聽力課堂網:/show-138-462430-1.html

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