Tag Archive: Preserving

Keep Your Love Alive: Preserving Cut Flowers

Keep Your Love Alive: Preserving Cut Flowers

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. You were likely showered with gifts from loved ones; gifts covered in chocolate, gifts of the stuffed variety, and more than likely the kind covered in petals. And as you languish in the afterglow of affection it would be wise to remember that your bouquets will need to be shown some affection if you intend for them to remain beautiful.

White Rose. Photo Courtesy David Marshall.

Duchesse de Brabant, Tea Rose. Photo Courtesy David Marshall.

Fresh cut flowers are a popular gift for Valentine’s Day and a simple, yet elegant way to relay your affections. Flowers have the capacity to brighten up a room and bring a smile to your face. The myriad of colors and scents are admittedly irresistible. However, after a few days your once overflowing vase may seem wilted and despondent. Follow these easy steps to increase the lifespan of your flowers and extend their potent powers!

Pink Rose. Photo Courtesy David Marshall.

Carefree Beauty, Shrub Rose. Photo Courtesy David Marshall.

  • Re-cut the flower stems using a sharp knife or shears. Remove at least one-half inch of stem to expose a fresh surface. Stems, especially rose stems, should be re-cut under water. A freshly cut stem absorbs water freely, so it is important to cut at a slant to avoid crushing the stem and to prevent a flat-cut end from resting on the bottom of the vase.
  • Put flowers in water as soon as possible. Maximum water uptake occurs in the first 36 to 48 hours after cutting flowers. Place stems in 100-110°F (38-40°C) water, because warm water moves into the stem more quickly and easily than cold water.
  • Make sure to remove any leaves from the stem that may be submerged. Because transpiration through leaves drives water flow up the stems of cut flowers, don’t strip all the leaves from the stem.
  • Use a commercial flower food, they work best at controlling microbial populations, hydrating stems, and feeding flowers. Make sure you follow the directions on the floral preservative packet. 
  • Removing thorns from your roses may shorten their vase life. If damaged during the removal process flowers may be opened up to microbes that could slow down water conducting cells.
  • If your vase solution begins to become cloudy, re-cut the stems and place into a new vase solution.
  • Do not place flowers in direct sunlight, over a radiator, or on a television set. Heat reduces flower life since flower aging occurs more rapidly in high temperature conditions. It is important to avoid all drafty locations because warm or moving air removes water from flowers faster than it can be absorbed through the stems.
  • Keep flowers away from cigarette smoke and ripening fruit, because they contain ethylene gas, which is harmful to flowers.
Red Rose. Photo Courtesy David Marshall.

Louis Philippe, China Rose. Also known as the “old Florida rose” since it is found at many old historic Florida home sites and pioneer settlements. Photo Courtesy David Marshall.

PG

Author: Taylor Vandiver – tavandiver@ufl.edu

Taylor Vandiver

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/02/17/keep-your-love-alive-preserving-cut-flowers/

Preserving Food: It is Not Like In Grandma’s Day

Preserving Food:  It is Not Like In Grandma’s Day

Low-Acid Canning requires a Pressure Canner

Low-Acid Canning requires a Pressure Canner Submitted by Shelley Swenson/Les Harrison

Home canning has changed greatly in the 170 years since it was introduced as a way to preserve food. Grandma may have cooked her green beans and poured them into hot jars but open kettle canning is not recommended today.   Scientists have found ways to produce safe, higher quality products to replace outdated recipes and techniques.

For safety’s sake, pressure canning is the only recommended method for canning meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables. Only through the use of the proper equipment can bacteria be destroyed in low-acid foods when they are processed at the correct time and pressure. Using boiling water canners for these foods poses a real risk of botulism poisoning. If Clostridium botulinum bacteria survive and grow inside a sealed jar of food, they can produce a poisonous toxin. Even a taste of food containing this toxin can be fatal.

What are the secrets of a safe and quality end-product? Process low-acid foods in a pressure canner. Have your gauge checked for accuracy and your gasket for dryness; many county extension offices offer this service. Make sure that you are using up-to date, research-based processing times and pressures for the size of jar, style of pack and kind of food being canned. Utilize the proper processing time and pressure for sterilizing the food at your altitude. Look for jar lids that are firmly sealed and concave and with nothing leaking from the jar after storage. Upon opening the jar, no liquid should spurt out and no unnatural or “off” odors should be detected.

Research-based food preservation recipes and information are available at your county extension office or at the UF/IFAS website http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_canning_food. When preserving low-acid food there is no room for error. The safety and quality of the end product are factors to be considered.

PG

Author: Shelley Swenson – sswenson@ufl.edu

Shelley is the FCS/EFNEP Agent in Wakulla County. She joined the UF/IFAS Wakulla County staff in 2008 after re-locating in Florida. She previously worked for the Kansas State University’s Extension Service for 13 years in a county position. She also spent 15 years in various administrative roles in the Kansas community college system. She owned and operated an interior business for five years.

Shelley Swenson

Permanent link to this article: http://franklin.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2014/05/12/preserving-food-it-is-not-like-in-grandmas-day/