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A Blue Ribbon Winner

Deb Botzek-Linn

Blue ribbon on jar

County fairs, a Minnesota summertime tradition, offer community members an opportunity to display the fruits of their labors. In visiting a county fair, the colorful jars of home canned fruits, vegetables, or jams and jellies with a proud blue, red or white ribbon displayed may have caught your eye.

Have you ever thought about entering your salsa, dill pickles, pickled beets, or strawberry jam in the fair?

If so, begin by contacting your local fair board secretary to request a premium list or go online to your county fair's website to review the exhibition guidelines. The premium list gives the requirements you will need to know and follow to exhibit.

For county fair and Minnesota state fair exhibitor information view the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs website and the Minnesota State Fair website.

Be sure to carefully read the premium list requirements and rules for exhibiting home preserved foods. It is a must to know the entry deadline and the entry day and time for home preserved foods to be brought to the fairground's exhibit building.

Always, always, use up-to-date research-based safe methods and recipes in the production of your home preserved foods.

The judging of home preserved fruits, vegetables, pickles and jams and jellies needs to meet a number of criteria. General appearance and color along with preservation principles of proper headspace, proportion of liquid to produce, the packing of the produce and more will be critiqued. The premium list gives the basic exhibition guidelines such as jar size and labeling requirements.

Explore the option of exhibiting your home canned pickles, applesauce, grape jelly — you may have a blue ribbon winner!

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Reviewed by Deb Botzek-Linn 2014

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