Preserving homegrown fruits and vegetables by canning them at the end of the season is good for you, good for your wallet and reduces your environmental impact. But, if your pressure canner lid gauges are inaccurate, it can also be risky.

To ensure safety in the home canning process, especially for those just getting started canning or who are using an older canner, pressure canner lid gauges should be tested annually. This canning season, University of Illinois Extension would like to help you be safe by providing free gauge tests at your local Extension office. Over time, a dial gauge’s calibration become inaccurate and show an incorrect pressure. If the pressure is even slightly lower than recommended, the internal temperature of the food will not be high enough to kill any bacteria, and harmful toxins can build up and cause illness or death.

At your convenience, drop off your dial gauge pressure canner lid or lids at any of the Extension offices listed below. Once the lids are tested, you will be contacted for pickup and provided with the results.

DeWitt County Extension office, 8425 Katie Road, Clinton;

Macon County Extension office, 3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd., Decatur; and

Piatt County Extension office, 210 S. Market Street, Monticello.

Offices are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Piatt County Extension office is closed noon to 1 p.m. Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need reasonable accommodation to participate, please call 217-877-6042.

Macon County Garden Walk

The Macon County Garden Walk is back and better than ever!

This June, enjoy a self-guided tour of seven inspiring Decatur-area gardens. Explore the gardens at the Decatur Day Care Center which are used as horticulture therapy, learn about landscaping techniques at Schaub Floral Display Center and check out unique home gardens featuring sustainable practices, small beds, theme gardens and more!

Hours for the 2019 Garden Walk are 2 to 6 p.m., rain or shine. Advance tickets are available online at, call 217-877-6042 or visit the Macon County Extension office at 3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd.

Tickets will be available for purchase on the day of the walk at Decatur Day Care Center, 2075 E. Lake Shore Dr.The Garden Walk is sponsored by University of Illinois Extension Macon County Master Gardeners and supports community gardening projects.

The Macon County Master Gardeners are volunteers trained by University of Illinois Extension. Master Gardeners fulfill their mission of Helping Others Learn to Grow by volunteering their time and horticulture skills through community gardening projects and educational outreach. Learn more at or on their Facebook page.Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.

If you need reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please call 217-877-6042. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting access needs.