The Green Scene “August”

Being Green:  Learn to Preserve Food

I have had such fun teaching people this spring and summer the basics of how to safely preserve food through small “canning parties” held in homes, church kitchens or at the Extension Office.  There seems to be renewed interest in preserving food either due to the struggling economy or the “back to basics” philosophy that seems to be sweeping our country.  I just wish the hot weather could have been a little kinder to those who were trying to garden.  I am still interested in having more “parties” if you are interested.  Gather 4-8 friends and let me know if you want to learn to make jelly or salsa which both requires the hot water bath method or vegetables so you can gain confidence in using a pressure canner.  I bring everything to host the gathering and charge $5.00/person for the seminar.

Food Preservation PartySome of my most rewarding experiences this have been seeing the interest on youth’s part to learn how to make jam.  I did a seminar during the residential 4-H camp by utilizing the nearby Madison County Extension Office and have had sessions at several of the Culinary Camp day camps where the kids made jam.  They are so interested in learning how to turn a bowl of blueberries into jam!!!  Another important learning that results is their new awareness of how much sugar is in jelly.  Many can’t believe it as they pour cup after cup of sugar into the mixture.  They leave with a new appreciation for the lower sugar version now available that their parents may have offered them for their topping for their morning toast.

If your dial gauge pressure canner is something that you inherited from your grandmother, have rediscovered it in the back of the cupboard and plan to use it, I can test it for accuracy through a pressure gauge tester which we have to insure safety for home canners.   It is recommended that if your gauge measures any more than 2 pounds in either direction to being accurate, you should replace your gauge. Since my schedule differs each day, it is best to set an appointment to test your gauge to insure I am able to serve you.    If you have a weighted gauge pressure canner, you need to learn to use it accurately but it does not have to be periodically tested for pressure reading accuracy.  Check the gasket as well.  If it cracks when you fold them in half, it needs replacing.

Did you notice that I am talking Pressure Canner, not Pressure Pan?  Do not confuse the two.  One is for processing low acid foods and the other is utilized to cut down on the cooking time of many foods.

Be watching for a seminar that will take place this fall when David Moody and I are going to team up to host a workshop to show the basics of pressure canning.  It will be directed mostly to the canning of meat and fish.  I would encourage many to attend.  Give me a call if you want to learn the details as they become available so I will contact you directly.

I also want you to be aware that the Ball® Canning Company is also encouraging home canning parties.  Recently they released a marketing campaign for Saturday, August 13, 2011 during which they are encouraging the millions of food lovers curious about canning and experiencing the reward of preserving fresh foods to be a part of this event.  They have teamed up with Canning Across America, a collective group of cooks, gardeners, and food lovers committed to the revival of the lost art of “putting up” locally grown food, to create the first National Can-It Forward Day.  They encourage you to gather family and friends to celebrate the bounty of summer.  Share the joy of preserving fresh food through a day of home canning parties or by watching online instructional canning videos.  Check out their newly redesigned website to learn more.  You can even join the Canning and Recipes Facebook Page.  Their website is:  www.canningacrossamerica.com.

And don’t forget all of the food preservation materials available through UF/IFAS and the Wakulla County Extension Service.  Call me to learn how to receive them or go directly to sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu.

If you haven’t checked out this month’s angelfood™ menu, do so at their website, www.angelfoodministries.com.  They have replaced their dry goods with more protein items and frozen vegetables.  Angelfood™ offers such a reasonable way to obtain food.  Consider buying a box for a family in need.

For similar articles and more information, please visit http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/wakullaco.

 

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