Posts Tagged: Master Food Preservers
With annual fairs getting plenty of publicity for their outrageous unhealthful food concoctions - think deep fried cereal, Twinkies and Oreos - instructions for converting summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables to healthful winter staples is "a welcome addition," writes the author.
During the fair's run, visitors will learn how to make jams and jellies, the art of pickling and fermenting and how to preserve tomatoes. In addition to the demos, Master Food Preservers will take questions and offer food safety tips.
"It's a rigorous program. But there was the promise of fresh fruit preserves, home-made goat cheese and perfectly canned green beans. I wanted in," she said of the intense 12-week course.
The most surprising discovery, Lutz wrote, was that the reference materials MFP trainees use in class are available to anyone who's interested. Lutz' favorites include The National Center for Home Food Preservation and the L.A. County Master Food Preservers blog.
"If I pass my final exam, I will be rewarded with the title of 'Master Food Preserver' and you'll see me and my classmates talking about food preservation techniques at local farmers markets and at the Los Angeles County Fair," she wrote.
Many parts of California offer the perfect summer climate for growing tomatoes. In fact, it's so good gardeners often find themselves with more tomatoes than they can eat fresh on salads and burgers.
To manage this bounty, UC Cooperative Extension Master Food Preservers offer classes that teach Californians the "lost art" of canning, a process which keeps summer in a jar to enjoy all year, according to an article in the Sacramento Bee.
The story, written by Debbie Arrington, featured 12-year veteran UCCE Master Food Preserver Lillian Smith, who teaches canning and other preservation techniques in Sacramento County.
"Starting two years ago, we saw many more people coming to our classes," Smith was quoted. "We saw attendance double, even triple or more. When we used to get 10 people, now we get 30 or 40 in a class."
She said food safety concerns and economics are driving the interest in food preservation.
"People want to know how to do it themselves," Smith said.
Smith has 25 tomato plants growing in her Rio Linda backyard, according to the article. She experiments with different ways to preserve her crop. Last summer, she tried pressure canning and making tomato leather.
The Master Food Preservers handle all sorts of fruit and vegetables, but tomato processing is always the No. 1 request.
Free publications about home food preservation are available in the UC ANR online catalog, including:
- Tomatoes: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, and Enjoy
- Olives: Safe Methods for Home Pickling
- Peppers: Safe Methods to Store, Preserve, & Enjoy
The half-hour public television program California Heartland, produced by KVIE in Sacramento, included a brief segment on the UC Cooperative Extension El Dorado County Master Food Preserver program in its most recent episode.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to view the segment online. I have a pretty powerful computer with up-to-date software, but the KVIE video segments played for a few seconds, buffered slowly, then quit. (If you have better luck with the video, please post a comment.)
California Heartland also provides a transcript of each segment, so I know that the show featured Master Food Preserver Jane Alexander teaching a class on marmalades, conserves and butters.
"Oh we have fun and we get to make some wonderful different kind of preserves and we do jerky, we do olives, we dry things, we freeze things - we cover the whole way that you can store food at home," Alexander is quoted in the transcript.
Host Chris Burrows noted that the Master Food Preservers offer a monthly canning class, which allows local residents to help preserve a lost art, gain awareness of salt and additives in commercially preserved products, learn how to preserve food safety and create homemade gifts from the kitchen.