Cottage Foods - Best Practices

Standardized Recipes
Assure safe pickled fruit and vegetable products and preserves by using recipes from reputable sources, such as:

Testing pH
The pH of your finished pickled fruits and vegetables must be 4.6 or below.

  • Test the first batch of each receipe during the production season. You can do this yourself, or through a certified food labatory.
  • Review information about pH and the use and calibration of a pH meter by visiting the University of Wisconsin extension website. 
Free pH Testing!
We are providing free pH testing for eligible products. Visit the pH Testing page for more information.


Record keeping
Keeping production records is a valuable business practice and should include the following:
  • Name of the product.
  • Recipe, including procedures and ingredients.
  • Amount prepared and sold.
  • Date of preparation.
  • Date and location of sale.
  • Gross sales receipts.
  • pH test results.
Sanitation
How should I clean my work surfaces?
Clean work surfaces with soap and water, rinse them with plain water, and then spray or wipe them down with a sanitizer. A sanitizer solution can be made by mixing 1/8 teaspoon unscented, regular bleach (8.25%) with 16 ounces of water.
 
My home has a private water system. Can I prepare Cottage Foods there?
Yes. Consider testing private water supplies at least once a year.

If I'm ill, can I prepare food?
Never prepare food while ill. Continue when you feel better and are symptom free for at least 24 hours. Wash your hands often and never handle ready-to-eat foods with your bare hands.