One of the services that Extension offers is home food preservation workshops. This evening, after hanging out with upper elementary kids for the afternoon and talking about the difference between serving sizes (the amount listed on food packages) and portion sizes (the amount of food that we actually consume) we helped to host a “Canning Foods at Home” Workshop. The importance of proper canning to eliminate the chance of growth of Clostridium Botulinum (a highly dangerous toxin) was emphasized.
I grew up canning with my mom and grandmothers, but I’ve never had a formal canning class. So I learned a few things today- I don’t actually have to boil the lids in water before placing them on top of jars. You can simply pour boiling water over the lids sitting in a bowl. That simplifies life for me. Also, I was confirmed in my belief that using a dishwasher with a heated dry cycle is sufficient to “sterilize” jars prior to canning. I was also introduced to a new tool- a little plastic knife with gradiated levels to measure the amount of headspace in a jar.
The class of five women this evening whipped up a batch of sweet pickles and a batch of strawberry jam. All of them were pretty new to canning, so it was fun to hear their questions and learn alongside with them.
The pickles are about ready to be lowered into the water.
My family typically makes freezer strawberry jam, so this was my first time to make a cooked jam. And to be honest, when I attempted to make that by myself in June it didn’t gel. So it’s great to sit in on a class with an expert- the Extension Agent.
These strawberries are all smashed and ready to go…
Check back soon for some pictures of the lovely finished product!