Home Food Preservation
Home food preservation classes are offered during the summer months in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender Counties. An introductory video class is required to watch before attending any of the hands-on classes. Classes offered include boil water bath canning – jams & jellies and pickles, pressure canning – low-acid veggies, and drying & freezing.
If you have a pressure canner with a dial gauge, you may bring in your canner with the lid so that your gauge and gasket can be tested. This is FREE of charge. You may drop your canner off at either the New Hanover, Brunswick, or Pender County Extension offices along with your name and phone number or you may call to schedule a time for your canner to be tested – 910-547-5589. Your canner will be tested and available for pick-up within the week.
Fresh foods are perishable because they contain a high percentage of water. The practice of canning preserves foods by removing the oxygen, destroying enzymes and preventing the growth of bacteria, yeasts and mold. It is important to follow proper canning practices to ensure that food is kept safe! Pressure canning is the only safe method for canning meat, poultry, seafood and low acid veggies. Dehydrating also removes the moisture which prevents spoilage from microorganisms. The enzyme action is slowed down (though not stopped), which means that color, texture, and quality do not degrade as rapidly once food is dried.
A great beginner’s resource (or to brush up on your knowledge) is the USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning. This guide is a trusted, go-to resource for making high-quality canned products safely. The guide is available online at the link below and in print.
Another great resource for tested recipes and research-based information is the National Center for Home Food Preservation. This is housed through the University of Georgia and they have a print resource called, “So Easy to Preserve”.
NC State Extension offers lots of information and resources related to home food preservation as well.