A two-part “Food Safety and Beginning Canning” class was taught by Lyon County Extension Educator Joy Paterson. The first part of the course consisted of a two hour long workshop where participants learned the biology of botulism, the science of food selection and preparation for use in canning and the basics of boiling water bath canning and pressure canning. Unsafe or untested methods of canning were briefly discussed with scientific discussion of why some methods are unsafe, unpredictable or untested using the latest information from the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning. During the workshop, participants checked canning jars for safety, handled various canning equipment and looked at canned jars of food. Participants were encouraged to bring their equipment to share with the course and for a safety evaluation of pressure canning equipment. Even veteran canners learned new information that will make grandma’s recipes safer and canning that produce faster.
During the hands-on portion held at Holy Family Catholic Church’s community center kitchen, participants canned using a hot pack and a cold pack method with both a pressure canner and boiling water bath equipment. Groups prepared jars, cleaned and prepared produce, followed recipes, filled jars, tightened lids and safely processed the food they prepared. The two groups cleaned, peeled and hot packed tomatoes. Green beans were cold packed and pressure canned by the first group. Jam recipes for blackberries and zinfandel grapes was demonstrated and participants processed the jars. Group two cold packed garden vegetable pickles. Jars of food prepared the day before were cleaned and checked for a proper seal. Information discussed in during the workshop were reinforced and everyone left feeling confident enough to can their own jars of treasure from the garden.
There is interest in a course that focuses on fall canning of fruits and fall garden produce, with potential dates in October. I would like to teach a canning class next summer in your part of the county. We need access to a commercial kitchen with 10-20 paid participants. Classes can be modified to what the group wants to learn. If you are interested in attending a future canning course or can assist in facilitating one, email, call or come by the Lyon County Cooperative Extension Office.