Home Food Preservation Classes Being Offered
Food preservation had been around since ancient times and various methods have been handed down through the generations as a means of saving our produce to feed our family during the winter months. Often the methods that have been passed down have been found to be unsafe. If you preserve or can food for your family using methods taught by your grandmother or an aunt, chances are you can think of occasions when you wondered if that preserved food is safe to serve your family. As a Family and Consumer Science Extension Agent, I often hear “we’ve always done it this way”… or “my grandmother canned her food this way for years and never got sick by eating it.” This may be true, but through research, we are finding that many of those “old” methods are not safe.
One of the “old” methods is canning vegetables in a hot water bath. High acid foods, like fruits, soft spreads, and pickles, are foods that contain enough acid to prevent the growth of the bacteria that cause botulism poisoning. These foods can safely be preserved by processing in a hot water bath, which reaches 212°F. Low acid foods, like vegetables and meat products, contain very little or no acid. Low acid food needs to be processed in a pressure canner, which reaches 240°F.
The problem with canning low acid foods in a hot water bath is Clostridium botulinum forms heat-resistant spores. These spores require a higher temperature for destruction at a reasonable period of time at 240°F. C. botulinum causes botulism, which is causes digestive upset (in some cases), blurred or double vision, difficulty swallowing, speaking and breathing and even death.
If you have not taken any food preservation workshops recently, plan to join me, Renay Knapp, Family Consumer Science Agent for the Transylvania Cooperative Extension, at our office on 106 East Morgan Street in Brevard, one, two or all three hands-on classes being offered in July.
These three hands-on classes involve preparing the produce and processing either in the hot water bath or in the pressure canner. Each class is offered once during the day and once in the evening to accommodate different schedules.
Hands-on classes offered are:
- Cooked and Freezer Jams on Monday, July 9, from 1:00-3:00 pm OR 6:00-8:00 pm
- Fruits and Pickles on Thursday, July 19, from 1:00-3:00 pm OR 6:00-8:00 pm
- Vegetables on Tuesday, July 24 from 1:00-3:00 pm OR 6:00-8:00 pm
If you did not attend the introductory class on June 19, please plan to come one hour early to get a lesson on the basics of canning.
The cost for each of these four classes is $10 per person, and if you would like to purchase a Ball Blue Book, they will be available for sale for $5. Pre-registration is necessary, so please call the Transylvania Cooperative Extension at 828/884-3109 to reserve your spot.