Grow Sustainab-LEE just had our food preservation course last night as part of our program in Lee County, Virginia. Food preservation is one of the sic (6) required courses to be a participant in the Grow Sustainab-LEE program.  We had approximately 20 families come out last night to learn about how to preserve food safely.  Those who successfully completed this training were given either a Pressure Canner for first year participants, or a Food Dehydrator for Second Year participants.

The ability to put food preservation equipment in the hands of the participants is amazing.  This equipment can be expensive and without it, much of the valuable produce that our participants are growing would have to be given away or run the risk of rotting.  This will allow more of the locally grown, organic produce to remain in the county in the hands of those who need it most.

Food Preservation Resources

Food preservation can be a tricky topic.  There is a huge number of recipes available on the internet, covering everything from jellies to pickles to beef jerky.  They all look and sound so good, so how do we know which ones are legitimate and safe?  The recommendation is to use recipes from a reputable source, such as the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving,or theSo Easy to Preservebook from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Program.  Basically, any recipe released from the Cooperative Extension programs across the country are research based and so are considered to be safe to use.

Another resource that is completely free to download on the internet is the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning.  You can download this resource by visiting the following link:  https://nchfp.uga.edu/resources/category/usda-guide.  You can also get the USDA Complete Guide ot Home Canning by visiting the website for the Lee County Virginia Master Gardeners.  This information is available at https://tinyurl.com/LeeMasterGardeners.  Simply visit the link for Grow Sustainab-LEE.  It is under Resources and then scroll down to the link for Food Preservation.  From here, you can print off the book or, if you prefer a print copy and do not have a printer, they are available for sale at: https://mdc.itap.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=AIG-539.  You can also purchase a copy on the internet by searching for ISBN number: 9788631975508.