Fair & Rodeo

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Food Preservation Judging Guidelines

Food Preservation - General Judging Guidelines for Food Preservation

Products exhibited must have been prepared between August 2018 and July 2019. Know processing times and pressure/temperature/pounds at your elevation. Safety is of the utmost importance. Any entry not in compliance with judging guidelines or exhibiting spoilage will be disqualified. Quality criteria based on visual judging only. Judges may refrain from tasting preserved food. 

Filled Jar
● Headspace must correspond to instructions on the reference guides listed. The top of the finished recipe or liquid covering produce must provide adequate headspace as stated in approved guidelines.
● Air Bubbles must be kept to a minimum. (Gas bubbles denote spoilage and can be identified by movement of bubbles to the surface of the product while the jar is stationary. Products indicating presence of gas bubbles will be disqualified.)
● Bands should remain on the jars while in transit to the fair event. Remove bands carefully to determine if the headspace is correct. Replace bands for product display.
● Avoid decorative jars, padded lids, or fabric covers.

Heat Process
● Methods used to heat process food must comply with current preserving guidelines as stated in the approved reference guides. The boiling water process for high-acid food and pressure process for low-acid food are the only recommended methods to preserve food in jars for shelf storage.
● Time for correctly heat processing food varies depending on each specific recipe or food type. Processing time must be in agreement with approved reference guides.

Product Appearance
● Produce should be free from blemishes, disease and spoilage. Recipes prepared with stems, pits and peels intact are acceptable if the recipe is in keeping with approved guidelines.
● Liquid must be clear and free from cloudiness and small particles unless the inherent characteristics of ingredients affect product clarity.
● Color of the finished product should be as close as possible to its natural characteristics or that for cooked product.
● Texture is affected by heat processing; however, the finished product should not easily break down or appear over-cooked.
● Ingredients should retain their shape and size based on the type and preparation method. Ingredients should be cut in uniform pieces and packed evenly in the jar, allowing adequate room for liquid to circulate throughout the jar during processing.