On July 1st, some of the Grow Appalachia participants from Stinking Creek attended a food preservation workshop at the Knox County Extension Office in Barbourville. The family and consumer science agent, Teresa, covered many of the different methods of preservation that can be used to save produce from the garden in ways that keep it fresh for a long time. The first type of preservation discussed was dehydration. An electric dehydrator was on display in the front of the room, complete with dried fruits, vegetables, and fruit leather. Teresa explained how she had prepared the produce and how long it took to dehydrate each type. She also handed out some delicious samples of the dried fruit and fruit leather, along with some literature those in attendance could take home for reference. She briefly discussed oven drying for those without dehydrators and, lastly, the old-school sun drying method. Next, freezing was discussed. This was a pretty straightforward discussion, but some tips were offered in preparation of food and how to place food while it freezes in order to take up less space. More literature was given out to reference at home. The last method of preservation discussed was canning. This was the most in depth discussion and a large selection of literature was available to take home. Water bath and pressure cooking methods were discussed. Teresa even displayed a pressure cooker that was still warm from recently canned tomatoes. Two of the main takeaway points of the canning discussion were which foods to pressure cook versus water bath and how to get the right acidity in order to keep your foods looking colorful and tasting fresh in the can. There were many questions asked about canning, by both those who have never canned and those who have canned for fifty years. Everyone learned something new and left with a wealth of information to be referenced in their own preservation endeavors. Everyone was also invited to attend to hands-on canning workshops on July 12th & 14th, in which each person will get to can and take home their own jar of tomatoes or fruit preserves.
Here is a link to the Knox County Extension Office to find out about other interesting workshops and events: http://knox.ca.uky.edu/