Our gardeners have been busy keeping up with their harvests and of course the summer weeds. To help our new gardeners learn how to preserve their harvest we have been offering free cooking and food preservation classes since April. In June, during the height of cabbage season we had a sauerkraut workshop – the results were delicious! We offered a strawberry jam making class in June as well with more yummy results. We had a freezer basics class earlier this spring to teach how to freeze different fruits and vegetables for the best results. This past month we had our cucumber pickling class and the last few jars waiting to be picked up from the office have been tempting me to try them!
We also had a dehydrating class earlier in the season and are looking forward to offering a water bath canning class for tomatoes and a pressure canning class for carrots.
As we’re wrapping up garden visits it has been fun to see first hand families putting these skills to use. We’ve seen canned corn, beans, tomatoes, pickles of all varieties, jams and jellies galore, and more. It is wonderful to know that the garden feeds us throughout the season but with some time and effort it can sustain us throughout the year.
Although we hold these classes for the skills they teach, the other wonderful result which isn’t as easy to see or quantify is the community built and formed around food, gardening and preservation. It has been so fun to build relationships with the various participants and to watch friendships grow within the group. Gardening and food preservation take a lot of work and the more we can help each other out and support one another through it – the more resilient our gardens and our communities will be!