Lazy Budget Chef: Will Homemade Food Gifts Kill You?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Will Homemade Food Gifts Kill You?

Home canning is the new trend this year! It’s not surprising given the economy, that more people are growing their own food and preserving that food for later by canning it.

I also think that this trend is cutting into food company’s market share because I read on MSN a big scary health warning story not to eat homemade food gifts because they might kill you! Then they go into a few gross horror shows of getting homemade cookies and such with hair in them – YUCK!

However, the real scary thing they are ‘warning’ us about is homemade canned food given as gifts. Apparently THREE people got sick last year because of improperly canned food. They say that some folk try to experiment or can things they shouldn’t like pumpkin butter. It's true pumpkin butter is not acidic enough to home can safely but you are able to freeze pumpkin butter like you would when making freezer jam.

My jam is a little too sweet for my taste but I don't think it could kill.
 Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take all precautions when canning food or that nothing goes wrong.  If you recall I mentioned that I’m afraid of canning. That’s why I made freezer jam last year.

I also made pumpkin butter out of our Halloween pumpkins - which I froze. I also gave it as a gift. Personally the last thing I want to hear is a warning that my homemade pumpkin butter can kill when I made certain that it won't. However, it might add a few inches to your hips if you eat it all in one setting, but that's your problem, not mine.

In addition, MSN warns that if you aren’t 100% sure the person making a food gift has a hospital sterilized kitchen, don’t eat it – throw it away. I'm not saying that some people keep a less than clean kitchen or let their pets walk all over their cooling baked goods (EW!) but the people in the article suspected that when they received an odd smelling food gift from their less than clean friend and decided to eat it anyway - cat hairs and all.

So now I worry. I am a fastidious cleaner but I clean with vinegar. I know at least one person who thinks I’m crazy and that my home isn’t as clean because I don’t dose everything in chlorine bleach like she does. I’m afraid my contribution may be thrown away. It’s the wasting of food that bothers me, not that the person didn’t like the gift.

I want to go on record that my kitchen floors are clean enough to eat off of. In fact, my dog does it all the time! Oh wait. Dogs aren't picky eaters, so maybe I should revisit my example...

What do you think? Do you think we shouldn’t give food gifts? Are you worried that they might kill you?