Welcome to my blog on healthy eating and food safety. I look forward to your comments and feedback regarding use of this tool to disseminate educational information. This blog will be updated on a regular basis.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Making Eating a Sustainable Part of Your Life


Making Eating a Sustainable Part of Your Life
There is an increased interest in sustainable food practices. Here are some tips for becoming more sustainable.
  •  A plant based diet which focuses more on plants than animal foods can have a significant impact on the environment.  Plant foods have a lower environmental impact than producing animal products.  Animal products uses a lot more fuel, feed and water to produce.
  • Foods raised organically need fewer chemical pesticides and fertilizers and thus have less impact on the environment.  If you can’t to buy all organic foods, make a decision to purchase a few foods which are most important to you to eat organically.
  • Choose foods raised close to home.  Utilize foods sold at farmers markets, CSA’s (community supported agriculture) or raise a garden. 
  • Learn to eat within the season. Food that is not raised in the area, is often shipped a significant distance which results in more fuel used for transportation.
  • Reduce food waste.  A significant amount of food is thrown away in this country.  Only buy what you can reasonably use in a week. Rotting food is a major source of methane, one of the greenhouse gases associated with global warming. Also look for foods that use minimal packaging.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Selecting a Healthy Frozen Yogurt


Selecting a Healthy Frozen Yogurt
I have been eating more frozen yogurt this summer. But while comparing brands, I have found some frozen yogurts to have a lot of sugar and fat in them.  Thankfully, there are a number of healthy frozen yogurts in the freezer section.

A number of frozen yogurts are made with skim milk for a lower calorie and fat profile and with Greek yogurt for a small increase in protein.  Also, many frozen yogurts contain live and active bacteria cultures, one of the factors that make yogurt a healthy option.  To determine if the yogurt you are looking to purchase contains these cultures, look for the National Yogurt Association’s “Live and Active Cultures” seal on the package.

Here are some tips for selecting a healthy yogurt. 

·         When choosing frozen yogurt at a yogurt shop, the soft yogurt has more air whipped into it and will be lower in calories than the harder, scoop kind.
·         Pay attention to the type and amount of toppings added to yogurt. Remember that some of these toppings like crumbled candy or cookies can add a lot of calories.
·         Whether you are purchasing frozen yogurt at a yogurt shop, or buying a carton at the grocery store, pay attention to portion sizes.  Eating more than the recommended portion size, will result in consuming more calories.
·         Check the Nutrition Facts labels on the carton or nutrition information at the yogurt shop to determine teaspoons of sugar.  A large serving of yogurt can have well over 10 teaspoons of sugar and this is before any toppings are added.             

Friday, July 25, 2014

Keep Summer Healthy and Food-Safe!


Keep Summer Healthy and Food-Safe!
Whether you’re enjoying a picnic, a cookout or simply a meal on the back deck, eating outdoors is a highlight of the summer season for most of us.
But warmer weather can also set the stage for foodborne illness when foods are cooked or handled improperly. Here are some suggestions to help ensure that your summer stays healthy and food-safe.
Sidestep Salmonella
Illnesses caused by the pathogen Salmonella spike in the summertime. Every year In the U.S., Salmonellacauses about 1.2 million illnesses—more than any other pathogen.
Here are four quick tips to reduce your chances of contracting Salmonella.
1. Don’t rinse raw chicken or other meat. “It spreads germs around the kitchen and does not contribute to food safety,” she says.
2. Wash your hands before eating and before and after handling food.
3. Always use soap. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water and scrub well.
4. Cook chicken to 165° Fahrenheit, ground meats to 160° F, and beef or pork steaks, roasts, and chops to 145° F with a three-minute hold. Always use a meat thermometer to ensure that meat reaches a safe end-point temperature.
A meat thermometer is an important food safety tool year round, but especially in the summer. The color of meat is not a reliable test of whether meat is fully cooked. Even a burger that looks completely done can hold bacteria that cause illness.
Take the time to test whether burgers, for example, are fully cooked by picking up the meat with tongs and inserting a thermometer through the top or side.
Coolers and cantaloupes
A cooler is an indispensable summer food safety tool, in particular for picnic foods such as potato salad and cantaloupe or other melons. Foods left out at room temperature for too long can become ready hosts for harmful bacteria.
Slice your own cantaloupe or watermelon, rather than buying those sliced at the store. In recent years, melons have been one of the biggest sources of foodborne illness.
It’s important to keep sliced portions refrigerated because cold temperatures slow the growth of bacteria. Be wary of sliced melons wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature in the produce aisle of the grocery store.
Avoid or use caution
Some foods should be avoided completely or eaten with care due to their histories of causing illness.
--Even when grown correctly, sprouts can serve as hosts for bacteria such as Salmonella,listeria and E. coli. Raw or lightly cooked sprouts have caused at least 30 outbreaks of foodborne illness according to http://www.foodsafety.gov. Home-grown sprouts are no safer since bacteria can actually grow inside the seeds themselves.
--Raw shellfish and shellfish, even when served in restaurants, pose a risk especially in the summer when aquatic species may be harvested from warmer ocean waters. Instead, choose safety by putting fish and shellfish on the grill.
--The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and many food safety experts advise avoiding raw milk that can contain dangerous bacteria with the potential to cause kidney failure, paralysis, chronic disorders and even death. Young children, older adults and people with weakened immune systems are most at risk.
Mayo makes the grade, Mayonnaise, an egg-based spread, has traditionally been mentioned as a potential source of foodborne illness, but today’s commercial product is actually quite safe. Pasteurized eggs and high levels of vinegar provide acid that helps control the growth of harmful bacteria. But keep in mind that homemade mayonnaise still requires extra caution.
Source: Barb Ingham, University of Wisconsin-Extension Food Safety Specialist

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Food Recall


Food Recall
A nationwide recall of peaches and other fruit is on-going; some of this fruit may have made its way into Wisconsin through SuperValu and other supermarket chains. The question that led me to search out this recall was linked to Elberta peaches in SuperValu stores in northwestern Wisconsin. Click here for more information. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm405943.htm
Wawona Packing Company of Cutler, Calif is voluntarily recalling certain lots of whole peaches Listeria monocytogenes. Wawona Packing has notified retailers of the specific lots being recalled. No other products are impacted by this recall. No illnesses have been linked to this recall to date.
 
(white and yellow), nectarines (white and yellow), plums and pluots packed between June 1, 2014 through July 12,2014 due to the potential of the products being contaminated with

Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Consumers who think that they purchased fruit affected by this recall should return the fruit to their local retailer for a refund or dispose of the fruit. National spokespersons are indicating that canning and freezing the fruit may not ensure safety; the fruit should be discarded, not eaten. A large supermarket chain in the northeast, Wegmans, has recalled baked pies and other items prepared with this fruit as a precaution against the pathogen surviving baking.


Monday, July 21, 2014

July is National Ice Cream Month


July is National Ice Cream Month
Ice cream is one of America's favorite treats during the hot summer months. The International Dairy Foods Association says ice cream and other frozen desserts are enjoyed by 90 percent of households.. July is National Ice Cream Month and although ice cream and other frozen desserts are a fun treat, they can differ widely in fat and calorie content. Check out the following tips on how to keep this sweet treat within a healthy diet plan and serve it safely. 

Tips for cutting calories, keeping flavor, and food safety with ice cream:

·         Ice cream and nutrition. Premium ice cream is usually higher in cost, fat, and calories. Ice cream with a higher fat content tastes richer and smoother. Typically a 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream will have around 150 calories and 7 grams of fat per serving. Reading Nutrition Facts Labels is a great way to compare brands and make healthier purchases. Check the nutrition label of your favorite brand and see how it measures up. As always, moderation and portion sizes are important.
·         Frozen dairy product facts. Ice cream has the highest milk fat and milk solids content, ranging from 10 to 14 percent, with specialty versions as high as 20 percent. Ice milk usually has more sugar and milk fat ranges from 2 to 7 percent. Sherbet has less milk fat and solids (between 1 and 2 percent), more sugar, and usually contains fruit. Frozen yogurt is made from cultured milk and has less milk fat than ice cream and less sugar than sherbet.
·         Storing ice cream safely. When buying ice cream and other frozen desserts, be sure they are frozen solid and the container is not sticky or frosted. Have ice cream double bagged or bring an insulated bag to reduce melting on the way home. Ice cream can be stored in the freezer unopened for up to two months and opened for two to three weeks at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If stored longer than one month, overwrap the original container with freezer paper or wrap. Once the ice cream is opened, consume within seven to ten days for best quality. If ice cream or other frozen dairy products thaw completely, they should be thrown away due to the danger of bacterial growth.
·         Cut the calories, keep the flavor. Typically when people are watching their weight, ice cream ends up on the "do not eat" list. Instead of serving a big bowl of ice cream with a handful of berries on top, flip the ingredients around. Enjoy a bowl of berries crowned with a small scoop (about ½ cup) of ice cream. For example, one cup of strawberries has about 50 calories and fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. A half cup of a light ice cream adds about 100 calories and calcium.
·         Premium ice cream and portion sizes. Some premium ice creams just aren't available in low-calorie options. However, a small amount of a higher-calorie food is sometimes all it takes to satisfy the taste buds. Try scooping two or three tablespoons of a premium ice cream into a smaller container for you or your guests, such as a juice or shot glass. Serve on a small plate with a little cookie and keep calories around the 200 level.
Adapted from Lisa Franzen-Castle, PhD, RD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Nutrition

Friday, July 18, 2014

Healthy Summer Snacks


Healthy Summer Snacks
Summertime is all about getting outside and having a good time. When on the go, having portable snacks is necessary.  Other days will be hot and refreshing snacks will be best.  Other days may be hectic and mess-free snacks will work best. Here are some snack ideas fors summer when you encounter these situations:
 On-the-go 
·         Pinwheels. Spread light cream cheese on a sun-dried-tomato tortilla and top with thinly sliced ham. Roll up the tortilla and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
·         Popcorn. Make popcorn in the microwave, on the stove or in an air popper. Skip the butter and add some parmesan cheese. Or, make it sweet with a little cinnamon and sugar.
·         Trail mix. Mix together equal parts cereal, nuts, seeds, pretzels and dry fruit.         
Beat the heat
·         Honeydew Lemon-Lime Ice pops. Puree diced honeydew melon with fresh lime juice and zest in a food processor. Mix puree with lemon-lime soda. Transfer to popsicle mold and freeze for 6 hours.
·         Banana ice cream. Place frozen banana pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Turn on the machine and process bananas until they create a frosty, yet creamy puree. Serve immediately and top with some chopped nuts, fresh fruit, a little chocolate syrup or some peanut butter; whatever toppings your kids love.
·         Frozen grapes.  Wash grapes and pat dry with a paper towel. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Place grapes on paper towels, trying to leave some space between them. Freeze until firm. Eat frozen. Don't let the grapes thaw -- they may become mushy. *Important: Grapes of any kind can pose a choking hazard for children ages 3 and under.
Mess-Free
·         Portable milk. Milk is a great source of calcium and protein. Keep some mini cartons in the refrigerator.
·         Cheese sticks. Buy some low-fat mozzarella cheese sticks for an easy and healthy no-mess snack.
Written by: Lauren Von Drashek- Dietetic Intern for Brown County UW-Extension

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Safety of Food Preservation Recipes Printed in Cookbooks and Home Canning Books


Safety of Food Preservation Recipes Printed in Cookbooks and Home Canning Books
A quick search on Amazon.com indicates that there are approximately 700 books on home canning alone. There are books by traditional ‘authors’ like Better Homes and Gardens,  and other names new to the scene offering how-to guides for beginners, or books to meet a certain need, e.g. canning in small batches.
The most important aspect of home food preservation is food safety. Canners would like the food to look and taste good, but more importantly, it needs to be safe for you and your family to eat.  And therein lies the challenge. Proving safety is much more complicated than making food look pretty in a jar and having it taste good.

Proving safety requires an understanding of food microbiology and lots of laboratory work.  It is important to understand the pH or level of acidity in each product, if that level of acidity changes over time. This information helps determine how a project should be processed and handled.  Alongside pH, is an understanding of how heat penetrates into a jar and throughout a food product.  This depends on the type of food, the jar size, and the type of processing medium (steam or boiling water). In order to ensure safety, each food is tested in each processing medium and the microbial lethality for each product is calculated. The math uses a lot of complicated formulas and relies on very tiny temperature measuring devices that are put on the jars.

Some reliable food preservation resources include publications distributed by county extension offices, Ball Blue Book, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and So Easy to Preserve distributed by  Cooperative Extension The University of Georgia. They also have a great website which can be found at http://nchfp.uga.edu/

Friday, July 11, 2014

Heathy Camping


Healthy Camping
Camping outdoors is a great way to get the family active and connect with the outdoors. It is important to fuel your body with nutritious meals and snacks so you have the energy for all of the activities camping entails. Below are some suggestions for healthy meals.
Breakfast
Pre-measure some oatmeal, or bring instant oatmeal packets, to cook over the camp stove. Sweeten with dried fruit or honey. If you have a lot of activities planned, add some nuts to pack in some more calories. Pancakes made with whole-wheat flour or vegetable omelets are another great option.
Lunch
Think of foods that can be prepared without heat, so you can quickly make them with little clean up.  Peanut butter sandwiches are an option. Packets of tuna that can be easily spread onto whole-grain bread is another easy lunch. Bring pre-sliced vegetables to make a quick and easy vegetable wrap using a flour tortilla or pita bread. Trail mix is an easy and tasty finish to this meal as is granola bars or protein bars.
Dinner
At dinner, there is usually more time to spend on preparing and cooking meals. Spread some tomato sauce, vegetables and shredded cheese on whole wheat pita bread and roast over the fire for easy pizzas. Roast sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrots, and corn on the cob over the fire as well. Mix some instant rice with warmed refried beans and roasted corn then add to a whole wheat wrap for a Mexican dinner.

Written by: Lauren Von Drashek, Dietetic Intern, Brown County UW-Extension

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kraft Sure-Jell Directions on Packages May Be Incorrect

Kraft Sure-Jell Directions on Packages May Be Incorrect
Some of the directions supplied with Kraft Sure-Jell packages are incorrect. This can result in jams and jellies not setting. 

The following message
is from the Kraft web site: http://www.kraftbrands.com/SureJell/message.aspx

Dear Sure-Jell Users,

We have discovered that the Quick & Easy Freezer Jam & Jelly Directions located on the printed Sure-Jell Premium Fruit Pectin (yellow box) packages are incorrect. This can result in Freezer-Jam & Jelly that does not set properly. Please note that the Cooked Jam & Cooked Jelly Directions located on this insert are correct. Our team is hard at work resolving this matter. We value your business and apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. For more information, including the corrected recipe insert, instructions on how to successfully remake a batch of Freezer Jam and answers to Frequently Asked Questions, please see Quick Links below.

Corrected recipe insert: http://www.kraftbrands.com/sites/surejell/PublishingImages/SureJell_Premium.pdf
Remake instructions for Freezer Jam and Jelly that does not set: http://www.kraftbrands.com/surejell/Recipes/recipe-detail.aspx?recipeId=108040
Please direct consumer questions to the Kraft web site: http://www.kraftbrands.com/SureJell/message.aspx

And remember - Jam or Jelly that fails to set can still be safe to consume -- just think of it as syrup!  AND freezer jam and jelly that does not have a heat (canning) process must be kept refrigerated, it should not be stored on the counter or cupboard.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Start the Pressure-Canning Season Off Right


Start the Pressure-Canning Season Off Right
As the canning season heats up, it’s a good time to check over your pressure canner to make sure that it is working properly. While a boiling water canner is used for canning acid foods like peaches or pears, a pressure canner must be used to safely process low-acid vegetables like peas and green beans, as well as meats. 

Modern pressure canners are lightweight units with special safety features that make home canning easy. Today’s pressure canner has a dial gauge or a weighted gauge for indicating and regulating pressure. 

Dial gauge canners usually have a counterweight or pressure regulator for sealing off the open vent pipe to pressurize the canner. This weight should not be confused with a weighted gauge and should not jiggle or rock during the canning process. 

Weighted gauge canners are usually designed to jiggle several times a minute or to rock gently when they are maintaining the correct pressure. Read your manufacturer’s directions to know how a particular weighted gauge should rock or jiggle to indicate that the proper pressure is reached and then maintained during processing.
 
Getting started
--When removing your canner from storage at the start of the season, start by washing it in warm soapy water; then rinse and dry.
--If you have a dial gauge canner, do not immerse the dial in water.
--Inspect the gasket. “It should be flexible, not hard or cracked,” says Ingham.
--Do not store the gasket in the lid. Instead, after each use, remove the gasket from the lid, rinse in warm soapy water and allow to air dry; then store in the base of the canner.
--Inspect the vent port, making sure that it is free of debris and will allow air and steam to flow freely. 

Begin the season by canning water. To do this, place warm water in your canner as directed in the user’s manual, seal the canner lid in place, and place the canner over high heat to vent. Allow the canner to vent for 10 minutes; then seal the vent port with a counterweight (dial gauge canner) or the weighted gauge, and allow the canner to pressurize. This relatively quick process lets you check the gasket to make sure it will seal the canner and see that everything is working. Once you are sure that the canner is functioning properly, you can turn off the heat and allow the canner to depressurize. Checking your canner with water may save you a few frantic moments later in the season before you pressure-can items such as meat or corn only to find that your canner isn’t working. 

If you are using a dial gauge canner, the dial should be tested every year to make sure it is working correctly. Even brand new gauges out of the box should be tested. Many county extension Offices offer dial gauge testing including the Brown County UW-Extension Office. Please call 920.391.4651 to schedule an appointment. 

In addition to properly working equipment, it’s important to follow a research-tested up-to-date recipe to help ensure that the food that you are preserving will be safe for family and friends. The University of Wisconsin-Extension has a wide variety of safe home canning recipes available from your county UW-Extension office or online at Safe and Healthy: Preserving Food at Home. To learn more about keeping food safe, contact the Brown County UW-Extension office. To stay abreast of all the latest food safety news, follow “Safe and Healthy: Preserving Food at Home.” 

Source: University of Wisconsin-Extension food science specialist Barbara Ingham

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Using Clear Jel® In Food Preservation


Using Clear Jel® In Food Preservation
Clear Jel®, a corn starch derivative, is a commercial thickening product used by bakeries and for frozen food. This product is used the same as flour or corn starch. Clear Jel® is often used in food preservation  to make canned pie filling. In recent years it has gained popularity in being used instead of pectin to make jams and jellies. The advantages of using Clear Jel® include:
·         It is less expensive than pectin.
·         The amount of sugar may be adjusted without losing the jelling capacity.
·         Recipes may be doubled, tripled or halved.
·         The jam may be frozen or processed in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 

Please click the following link to access a Fact Sheet prepared by the Washington State University Extension regarding the use of Clear Jel® in making jams and jellies.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Grilled Seafood


Grilled Seafood
If you’re looking for something different to grill, try fish and seafood.  Fish and seafood are an excellent source of lean protein, and grilling fish is an easy way to get dinner on the table fast. Plus some types of fish, such as salmon, are good sources of omega-3 fats, which are good for your heart. Here are some tips to get you started.  
1.       Ensure the grill is clean before igniting it and lightly brush with oil or nonstick cooking spray to prevent seafood from sticking.
 
2.       Soak the fish or seafood for about 2 hours in the marinade of your choice to pack in more flavors. Before grilling, drain off any excess marinade and pat the seafood dry. Basting can occur while grilling, but be sure to set aside marinade the seafood was not soaking in to avoid contamination with bacteria.
 
3.       If you don’t want to use a marinade, brush it with a light coating of butter or olive oil and add seasonings of your choice i.e. black pepper, kosher salt, lime juice, garlic and thyme are some great choices.
 
4.       Put the fish or seafood on hot grill. Cook the fish or seafood until it is about 60% done (about 3 minutes for ½ inch thick, 5 minutes for 1 inch thick) then flip with a spatula; fish/seafood cooks fairly quickly so be sure to keep an eye on it.  
5.       Cook for an additional 2-5 minutes and remove from grill. Fish is fully cooked when it begins to flake and is opaque at the center. Some fish, like tuna is often served slightly ‘rare’ like a steak.

 
    

Friday, June 27, 2014

Grilling Fruit


Grilling Fruit
Summertime is the perfect time to head outside and fire up the grill. You have meat and vegetables on the grill, but what about the fruit? Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit, concentrating the flavor and making fruit a delicious and nutritious appetizer, side dish or dessert.
Almost any fruit can be put on the grill; hard fruits like pears, apples and pineapples are easiest to grill since they hold their shape and texture. Softer fruits, like peaches and mangoes, require more attention when grilling since they can become mushy and fall apart if cooked too long.
Grilling fruits is easy and takes little time to prepare. Follow this simple process to grill the perfect fruit of your choice:
1.       Cut the fruit in half and remove any seeds and cores. Leave the peels on the fruit, which holds the fruit together while grilling.

2.       Soak the fruit in water for 20-30 minutes so the fruit can hold in as much moisture as it can. This way, the fruit will remain juicy and won’t dry out on the grill.

3.       On a clean cooking grate, grill fruit over medium heat. You can spray the grate or fruit with some cooking oil, or brush the fruit with butter to keep it from sticking to the grill.

4.       To add even more flavor, when soaking the fruit add spices to the water like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.  Spices can be added to the butter before brushing on the fruit.
Grilled fruit can be eaten simply by itself, added to a salad, tossed in a salsa, or pureed into a sauce. With the endless amounts of ways you can eat grilled fruit and the simple preparation, it is an easy way to liven up meals with delicious, grilled fruit. Plus, eating fruit is a great way to get enough servings of fruit on a daily basis.
Written by: Lauren Von Drashek- Dietetic Intern, Brown County UW-Extension

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Healthy Eating on a Budget


Healthy Eating on a Budget
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently unveiled Healthy Eating on a Budget – the newest addition to ChooseMyPlate.gov. Consumers continue to want more information about how to make better eating decisions with limited resources. To meet this need, the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) developed the new resource to include easy-to-use and insightful information about planning meals, shopping smart in the grocery store, and preparing foods that save money and time in the kitchen.

"Although healthy foods aren't always more expensive, many low-income people face time and resource challenges when it comes to putting healthy food on the table," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Promoting nutritious food choices can have a positive impact on improving the health and diet quality of Americans. USDA offers a broad spectrum of strategies to empower low-income families to purchase healthier foods."

Consumers who visit the Healthy Eating on a Budget section of ChooseMyPlate.gov will learn ways to plan, purchase, and prepare healthy meals. The new web pages provide families with tips and strategies to help save money and plan a healthier diet. The new section includes the latest addition to the MyPlate 10 Tips Nutrition Education Series, Save More at the Grocery Store which emphasizes simple-to-use tips to help consumers make decisions as they walk down a supermarket aisle.

Dozens of additional strategies are featured in the new section including using unit pricing, reading food labels to compare items, and checking sales on store brands. A new cookbook features 25 recipes from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) resource page, SNAP-Ed Nutrition Connection. The recipes are included in sample two-week menus based on a 2,000 calorie diet to help individuals and families plan meals. Additional grocery and pantry lists are provided to help households organize their food purchases.

Source: USDA

Monday, June 23, 2014

Summer Delight-Strawberry Jam


Summer Delight - Strawberry Jam
Jams are thick, sweet spreads made by cooking crushed or chopped fruits with sugar. Here are some tips for making great jam.
·         Accurate measurement of all ingredients is essential.
·         Use the pectin called for in the recipe. Do not substitute another type of pectin than what is called for in the recipe.
·         Add ¼ teaspoon of butter to the berries and pectin mixture prior to adding sugar. This will reduce foaming.
·         Many recipes call for stirring the hot mixture for three to five minutes after removing the pan from the heat source and before pouring jam into jars. This will prevent the fruit from floating once the product is preserved.
·         If using frozen berries, make sure they are not sweetened prior to freezing.
·         Process jars in a water bath canner unless you are making freezer jam.   
With strawberry season in full swing in Northeast Wisconsin, it is time to preserve those berries for the long winter ahead.  The following recipe is from the University of Wisconsin-Extension publication, Making Jams, Jellies & Fruit Preserves. I make this jam recipe throughout the year and the jam always turns out great. 
Strawberry Jam 
5 cups crushed strawberries
7 cups sugar
1 box powdered pectin
¼ teaspoon butter 
1.       Wash jars. Place in hot water as well as flat lids.
2.       Fill water bath canner ½ full with water and bring to a boil.
3.       Wash strawberries. Remove stem and cut off any damaged areas.
4.       Place strawberries in bowl and crush with potato masher. Measure out 5 cups and put in sauce pan.
5.       Measure sugar and set aside.
6.       Stir powdered pectin into strawberries. Add ¼ teaspoon butter to reduce foaming.
7.       Quickly bring fruit-pectin mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  At once, stir in sugar. Continue stirring and bring back to a full boil.  Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Skim off foam.
8.       Remove pan from heat source and stir for five minutes. 
9.       Quickly ladle hot fruit mixture into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Wipe jar rims and threads clean with wet paper towel.  Place flat lids in top of jar and screw the bands firmly, but not too tightly.
10.   Place jars in water bath canner. Process for five minutes.  Remove jars from canner and place in cooling rack. Let set 24 hours before storing.