April 8, 2010

Apply to be a Master Food Preserver

Canning is so hot right now. I really wouldn't be surprised if I heard Paris Hilton was trying her hand at it.

If you don't believe me, check out all these blogs that focus solely on canning:

Food In Jars
tigress in a jam
Put Up or Shut Up!
Saving The Season
Sustainable Pantry
Anarchy in a Jar
Hot Water Bath

And that's all I feel like listing right now... phew, I got a little distracted looking at all the beautiful home canned goods people are making all across the country.

But here in Maine, canning acts as a great way to increase your access to local foods. If you haven't noticed, we have a short growing season (hence the partying like it's 1999 during June, July, and August), so home canning is a great way to preserve those seasonal fruits and vegetables well into the time of year when your raised beds are covered with feet of snow.

But how to begin? Learning to can from a book can be overwhelming, and if you're anything like me, will induce the fear that you're going to give your loved ones some neurological damage with improper techniques.

But you're in luck! Maine is one of the few states in the country that offers the Master Food Preserver program, through the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. This 10 session class (from June to October) uses in season, local produce to teach you every aspect of home food preservation. After you've successfully become a jam, pickle, and salsa master, you'll go forth and teach public food preservation workshops. We'll be like an army of home canners. It'll be great.

Applications are in great demand, and there are only 12 spots available. So make yours a good one, and happy canning!

Note: the application period has passed. Thanks to all those applied, congrats to those who were accepted, and see you over the stove this summer!