My Mom runs a small jelly and jam company here in Kentucky [www.twosistersjams.com] and recently the demand for hot jams and canned peppers has gone thru the roof. She's wanting to experiment with some unconventional recipes to satisfy this demand, but straying from conventional recipes carries risk. She wants to do this right.
To that end, we are in need of a source for Ph test strips that measure from 1 to 5 in 1/10th's. The only ones we can find measure from 5 to 10. Since the risk of contamination comes in at anything after 4.6 Ph, the 5-10's are useless.
Experienced canners who design their own recipes often use a scientific tool called a pH Meter to test whether or not their food is acid enough to can. pH meters are available from scientific instrument companies, such as Weber Scientific.
We have heard reports of canning books recommending the use of pH testing strips (that you can get at the drugstore) to test the acidity of your food. We were taught that pH strips are not reliable enough to use for canning purposes. The reason for this is that storage conditions (in the store or in the warehouse or in your cupboard) can degrade them–and you have no idea how accurate they are. Therefore, we do not recommend that you use them.
Subtropical desert (Köppen: BWh)
Elevation: 1090 ft Annual rainfall: 7"
Our state's extension service will test a small scale producer's recipe for safety under a cottage industry program. Might be worth checking to see if your mom can get someone at yours to run it through a lab at little/no cost.
Jennifer, we got it off Ebay. There was quite a selection starting as low as $10. We went for a little nicer one that had some good reviews posted on the net. I'll be happy to post some hands on info once it comes in.
Ann, Yes we do have a county extension service that"ll test home brewed creations, and my Mom's used them several times already as per the hot jams & jellies that are already listed on her web site. But the turnaround time from them ranges anywhere from 4-6 weeks, and they're not very generous with the knowledge. Mom's called them a few times and it takes forever to get to talk to anyone who seems to know anything technical, and they're always in a hurry to get rid of you. Hence the desire for home based testing.
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