Canning & Baking Judging

Exhibit Info

Location: Taste of California Classroom

The Canning and Baking Competition at the California State Fair is an exciting opportunity for home bakers and canners to showcase their skills and compete for awards. Participants will have the chance to demonstrate their creativity and originality by submitting their best homemade specialties for judging. Don’t miss your chance to be recognized as one of California’s top home bakers or canners!

California’s best adult & youth home bakers and canners, submit your home-made specialties to be judged live at the California State Fair. Adult & Youth Competitions are now combined into one handy competition guide and online application.


Come and watch live professional judging! Our head Judge, Linda Amendt, is an accomplished and experienced blue ribbon baker and home canner, winning nearly 1000 awards in state and county fair food competitions and baking contests across the country.  She has been the head judge for the California State Fair for over 20 years and has published multiple canning and baking cookbooks.  All entries are “Made from Scratch” and home made. Learn insider secrets on preparing the best entries and how to win those coveted blue ribbons in baked goods and preserved foods competitions from our award winning judges. Learn the difference between American and Danish systems of judging. American Style is what is used on the Great British Baking Show.

Cakes entered into the canning and baking competition.

The Danish System of Judging is used in the basic evaluation of entries in Regular Competition Divisions. Judges use Scorecards to evaluate entries for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Awards based on a points system. There may be multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Awards.

The American System of Judging is used to determine Best of Class, Best of Division and Best of Show Awards, as well as for the basic evaluation of all entries in the Special Contests. Scorecards are not used. Entries are ranked in competition with other entries for these awards. Only one 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Award is given.


Judging of Bread Show – New Revised Classes. Come see the judging and learn tips on how to make your best white, wheat, whole grain bread in addition to sourdough, buns, and rolls

Judging of Dried Show – NEW THIS YEAR.  This year, we are introducing a Dried Foods Show which includes fruit, herbs, and jerky.


Judging of Jam Show – Learn the difference between Jam and Jelly: Jams are made by cooking crushed or finely chopped fruits with sugar until the mixture will round up in a spoon. There should be no separation of fruit and juice, and no large pieces of fruit. Jams may be made with or without pectin and/or citrus juice

Judging of Jelly Show – Jelly is a semi-solid mixture of fruit juice and sugar that is clear and firm enough to hold its shape when cut, yet it is soft enough to spread easily. Jelly should not contain pieces of product or pulp. (Exception: pepper jelly may have pieces of pepper suspended in it.) Jelly may also include a small amount of citrus juice.

Judging of Soft Spread & Fruit Show

Judging of Pickle & Vinegar Show – Watch and learn all there is to pickling including, flavoring produce selection, and mistakes to avoid.

Judging of Sauce & Salsa Show – Learn what makes great home made condiments such as catchup, chili sauce, dessert sauce, chutneys, tomato sauce and BBQ sauce. Also find out the difference between green and red salsa?

Watch and see what makes a cake, pie, and pastry a hit and learn secrets that can make or break your creation.

Judging of Cake Show

Judging of Pie & Pastry Show

Watch entries from contestants ages 5 – 18. This is a great opportunity for children and adults to learn together and take their new knowledge back to their home kitchens.  The results of cooking or baking together contributes to stronger relationships at home and in groups! Children learn time management, team skills, following directions, and problem solving.

Judging of Youth Baking Show

Judging of Youth Canning Show

Judging of Youth Dried Show

See what consistency and look your cookies and confections should have.  Learn tips on how to make yours a hit!

Judging of Cookie Show

Judging of Confection Show

Judging of the Guittard Chocolate Passion Contest  – Come see contestants creating this gourmet chocolate compete to have their original recipes join the Guittard Chocolate Company collection and win a Cash prize in addition to a State Fair Rosette! Winners will receive a 10lb Bar of Guittard Chocolate.

Judging of King Arthur Flour Snickerdoodle Derby – New This Year! Watch contestants test their snickerdoodle baking skills against other California State Fair competitors to find out who is the best snickerdoodle cookie baker in the state. Each exhibitor will prepare the same recipe, use the same ingredients, and follow the same instructions to follow a recipe written by our Head Judge, Linda Amendt. They will be competing for a cash prize in addition to a State Faire Rosette in addition to the bragging rights that come with making the best snickerdoodle cookie in the state of California.

Peruse the Display case and see how your favorites placed!  All Items are displayed within 2 hours of judging.