The University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension service is teaching people how to safely preserve food they grow with free preservation workshops across the state.
Wednesday, the Carlisle County Extension office in Bardwell held its second workshop day teaching community members the water boil canning method with a salsa made from homegrown tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.
Nutrition Education Program Assistant Lisa Dodson says preserving food can save money and make you eat healthier.
“They know how much salt or sodium is in these products, how much sugar they’re putting in, and that can enable them to be healthier,” Dodson said.
Dodson says it’s also easier to go to your kitchen cabinet and pull out the food that you've already got than go to the store and purchase something.
Gardener Sharon Downs says it also gives her a greater satisfaction to eat what she grows.
“It’s just fresh,” Downs said.
Downs has been gardening for seven years.
“It is hard work, but it's gratifying work,” Downs said.
Dodson says almost anyone can start a garden. You just need a little land and patience.
“You can start a garden. It can be in a container, a flower pot, a five-gallon bucket on your patio...We do sometimes what’s called pizza in a pot, and we'll raise a tomato, a pepper, and herbs,” Dodson said.
Pressure canning works with low acidic foods like green beans and water. Boil canning is used for high acidic food like salsa.
“We're teaching the safe method because a lot of people might have learned from their grandparents or parents, but that's not always the safe way to do it,” Dodson said.
To prevent your food from spoiling, it's important to use a heat-tempered jar with a two piece lid instead of a commercial one that sometimes can't reseal, which could allow bacteria to grow in it.
The food preservation workshop also teaches participants how to dehydrate foods and make jams or jellies. They’re new techniques that help create a greater satisfaction for gardeners like Downs.
“That I can take something and grow and produce food for my family,” Downs said.
Thursday, Carlisle County will hold its last day of the workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A workshop will be held at the McCracken County Cooperative Extension on June 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
A free three-day University of Kentucky Food Preservation workshop will happen in Crittenden County from July 26 to 28. A location has not been set yet, but you can call the extension office to sign up at 270-965-5236.
Another will be held in Calloway County from August 16 to 19, to sign up call 270-753-1452.
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