During times of economic downturn, there has been an increased interest in home food preservation. Farm families have planted gardens and preserved produce for generations. During World War II, the government urged families to plant “Victory Gardens” and to can their surplus for later use. During the 60’s and 70’s, young women immersed in the back-to-the-land movement rediscovered home canning. Over the course of much of the past three decades, canning, as the primary method of home food preservation, faced serious competition as freezers became a common household appliance.
However, the recent global economic downturn and growing interest in local and organic foods is once again bringing renewed interest to home food preservation. In order to meet the demands for canning classes I have enlisted the help of Karen Blakeslee, director of the Rapid Response Center at K-State Research and Extension. A few spots remain in the food preservation workshop set for Friday, Aug. 1, that Blakeslee will be leading. The hours for the workshop are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and it will be held in the Great Bend High School Family and Consumer Science kitchens located at 2027 Morton. The cost to register is $10 and this fee includes canning supplies and a light lunch. I would like to have registrations complete by Friday, July 25, so that I can plan for handouts and garden produce. Stop by our office at 1800 12th Street to register as soon as possible.
Preserving fresh produce provides a number of benefits that are relevant to today’s lifestyles. Canning locally grown produce reduces the carbon footprint created by transporting fruits and vegetables from around the world in off-seasons. Home canning allows consumers to manage their family’s nutrition, to manage the ingredients in recipes, and to express one’s own food creativity. Preserving locally grown foods allows consumers to capture the flavor of any particular crop in season and extend the availability throughout the year. Whatever your reason is to preserve the harvest I hope you will consider signing up for the food preservation workshop on Aug. 1st!
Donna Krug is the Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Barton County. You may reach her at (620)793-1910 or firstname.lastname@example.org