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Forsyth County extension offers food preservation advice
Canning WEB

UGA Extension Food Talk Seminars

Healthy Eating on a Budget
* What: Learn how to make healthy eating economical and fun for you and your family.
* When and Where: 7 p.m. Monday, June 6, at Post Road Library, 5010 Post Road; 2 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, Cumming Library, 585 Dahlonega St.; 7 p.m. Monday, July 18, Hampton Park Library, 5345 Settingdown Road

Basics of Food Preservation
* What: Learn the basics of canning processes and take a peek at other food preservation methods
* When and Where: 7 p.m. Thursday, June 16, Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road; 3 p.m. Thursday, June 23, Post Road, 5010 Post Road; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 13, Cumming Library, 585 Dahlonega St.

Cooking with Herbs
* What: Learn how using fresh and dried herbs not only add pizzazz to your meal, but may protect against such diseases as cancer and heart disease.
* When and Where: 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, Hampton Park Library, 5345 Settingdown Road; and 2 p.m. Friday, July 15, Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road

Back to School Lunches
* What: Learn to liven up that lunch box so your child’s lunch doesn’t end up in the trash can.
* When and Where: 7 p.m. Monday, July 25, Post Road Library, 5010 Post Road’ and 7 p.m. Thursday, July 28, Sharon Forks Library, 2820 Old Atlanta Road

You’ve grown your own tomatoes — or maybe you went to one of the local farmer’s markets and found some fresh ones — and now it’s time to make and can salsa.

Tomatoes are tricky, however, and you’ve got questions. Who can you call?

Many people reach out to the University of Georgia Extension in Forsyth County with their canning questions.

Barbara Worley, family and consumer science agent at UGA extension in Forsyth County, said people are becoming more interested in the food process and how to preserve it, allowing them to enjoy produce year-round.

“People want to know where their food is coming from,” she said. “People are starting to really buy into the agricultural movement.”

Therefore, canning has been experiencing a bit of a revival recently. And the UGA Extension in Forsyth County is offering several Food Talk Seminars as part of its Library Series this summer, among them is a food preservation seminar.

The class is not a hands-on food preservation class but will teach canning basics. Worley said some of the topics to be discussed include the basics of high-acid versus low-acid food, which types of food you would use for which style of canning, canning equipment and fundamentals of freezing and drying.

The Extension office planned its seminars based on the interests of the community. Worley said as people are moving toward preserving local food for their own use or gifts, they had several requests for a food preservation seminar.

“It’s not as scary as it seems,” she said about canning. “Family and Consumer Sciences is here to help you with that. Don’t let your fear of canning hold you back from learning about it.”

Some of the most common questions Worley receives about canning are why a can won’t seal properly, how many minutes to process the canned food and canning at different altitudes.

It’s also important to use trusted recipes. Worley recommends recipes and advice from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

“It’s really important to follow the proper protocols and steps,” she said.

If they aren’t followed, you may put yourself or whoever receives your products at risk for sickness or death. Trusted recipes, like those from the National Center for Home Food Preservation, are tested by scientists to ensure toxins will not form.

Latrelle Thomas of Murrayville has been canning for more than 50 years.

“Back in the early ’50s, the county extension had a Home Demonstration Club and it was real popular,” Thomas said. “Mother was a member and she learned how to really can the proper way and she taught me.”

Since then Thomas has taught her daughter how to can, too. She suggests using a good canner and recommends a portable cooker on glass-top stoves as the heavy canning equipment could ruin the glass.

Thomas said she always uses recipes from the extension office and cans mainly green beans, tomatoes and pickles. Some of the most commonly canned produce, Worley said, are tomatoes, green beans, jams and jellies.

“It’s very rewarding when you’re able to not only eat something that you’ve preserved yourself, but people enjoy receiving them,” Worley said. “When people put their thoughtfulness and their love in, it means a whole lot more than something store bought.”

Thomas said she’s continued to can over the past 50 years as a way to preserve the extra produce from her garden. She’s sold at farmers markets in the past but always seemed to have left overs. Her family, including her children, grandchildren and sisters have benefited.

“I didn’t want them to go bad so I’d can them (green beans) and pass them on,” she said.