Sunday, April 27, 2014

Waterbath Canning Class with the VUHL

The Virginia Urban Homesteaders' League hosted a great class on waterbath canning, hosted by a woman named Cat, her friend Courtney Reitzel, and Misty Townsley. I have enjoyed all the VaUHL events I have attended and highly recommend the group to anyone who aspires to grow and preserve food.

I have a confession to make. I have attended two VaUHL canning classes, namely waterbath canning and pressure canning, and loved them both. I was so impressed with the idea of preserving my own food that I bought the biggest canner available online.

The only problem was, when I got it, I found out it was too big for my stove. It is almost too big to store anywhere in my kitchen.

But now we have a new stove because the old one needed replacing, anyway. I enjoyed the referesher course and look forward to preserving foods this summer, especially tomatoes. I also got an Excalibur dehydrator after attending another class. I want to preserve all kinds of foods, but especially strawberries, garlic, peppers, and tomatoes. I've already started to preserve home-grown herbs and even brew my own herb teas.

But I digress.

I will post pictures and captions to describe today's event. I took about 30 minutes of videos, too, for my own use. If anyone wants them available to watch, leave a comment here, and I will post them online.

Misty, left, and Cat, right, prepare carrots and daikon radishes to pickle. VaUHL promotes seasonal eating.

Our teachers show off the different foods they have canned. They provide plenty of written materials.
The guide to the beginner that was most higly recommended was the Ball Blue Book, seen to the left in the picture above. We all got plenty of handouts and even the recipe for the pickled carrots and radishes that we made in class today.

Courtney Reitzel, left, and Misty prepare for their class at Pembroke Manor United Methodist Church

Sampling our instructors' home preserved foods was a major incentive to learn to can. Delicious!
Did I mention their food was delicious? There's NOTHING like it in stores!

Misty, Cat, and Courtney emphasized that people should use USDA-approved methods and tested recipes, like those found in the Ball books. Another recommendation was Preserving by the Pint for small batches. They reminded people that carelessness or the use of outdated methods can result in illness or even death. Botulism is a deadly bacteria that will grow in improperly stored and preserved goods.

But they said that anyone who can read and follow a recipe in a cookbook is able to can food safely. After today's class. I believe them. But I plant to be careful, just in case.

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