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Canning high-acid foods
Examples of high-acid foods include jams and jellies, pickles, and most fruits. Because there is no fear of Clostridium botulinum growth, these foods require much less heating than low-acid foods. To be safe, such foods need only to reach pasteurization temperatures. For foods with a pH value of 3.5 or less, 175°F (79.5°C) is a sufficient pasteurization temperature. Those foods with a pH range between 3.5 and 4.0 have a recommended pasteurization temperature of 185°F (85°C). For foods with a pH range of 4.0 to 4.3, the recommended pasteurization temperature rises to 195°F (90.5°C). Foods with a pH value between 4.3 and 4.5 have a recommended pasteurization temperature of 210°F (99°C). These pasteurization temperatures are sufficient to kill all microorganisms except for bacterial spores. Since the spores will not grow because of the low pH, the food is considered commercially sterile. A high-acid food will therefore not need the high-temperature process that a low-acid food requires. A high-acid food may typically be processed in a hot water or steam bath at atmospheric pressures – no pressure-cooking is required. For this type of processing, the sealed container is heated in the bath until the internal temperature of the slowest heating point reaches the recommended pasteurization temperature for two to ten minutes depending on the pH value and other properties of the food. The time required to reach this temperature will vary and is usually set by a Recognized Process Authority after reviewing the food, evaluating the process, and perhaps conducting heat penetration tests.