Although it is mid-March, the temperatures have been giving many of our Sampson County residents spring fever. With warm temperatures and a lovely breeze, it’s hard to resist getting outside and playing around in the dirt. Before long we will have many fruits and vegetables ready to harvest, and may even have too much to know what to do with. If this is the case, you’re in luck! This year Sampson County Cooperative Extension will be hosting a food preservation workshop series.
If you’re interested in learning how to preserve the fresh summer produce, we have many opportunities for you to learn at the Extension office. This series will be a cross-county program, covering Duplin and Sampson counties. The first lesson of the series is a free introduction session to teach participants the history of canning, how to can safely, the canning process, and the health and nutrition of canning. This class has already been held in Sampson county, but will be held again in Kenansville at the beginning of April. Please check the Extension website for the date (duplin.ces.ncsu.edu or Sampson.ces.ncsu.edu) or call Duplin Extension office at 910-296-2143.
In order to attend the food preservation series, you must attend the informational session. The class will be held on a Saturday in order to let those who may work during the week still be able to attend. The month of March is also a time for you to come get your pressure canner tested. 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 also free of charge. Feel free to drop your canner off at either the Duplin or Sampson County Extension office along with your name and number. Your canner will be tested and available for pick-up within the week.
Our food preservation series will consist of five classes. The classes are as follows:
• Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Jams & Jellies workshop, held at the Sampson County Extension Office, Clinton.
• Saturday, May 20, 9 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Vegetable Canned Foods, held at the Duplin County Extension Office, Kenansville.
• Saturday, June 17, 9 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Pickles and Sauerkraut, held at the Sampson County Extension Office, Clinton.
• Saturday July 15, 9 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Meat and Poultry, held at the Duplin County Extension Office, Kenansville.
• Saturday, Aug. 12, 9 a.m. to around 2 p.m., Dehydration, held at the Sampson County Extension Office, Clinton.
Each class is $25 which includes the Ball Blue canning book and a canned item to take home. If you would like to take multiple classes, the first class will be $25 with all following classes being $20 (the first payment is to cover the expense of the Ball Blue canning book). If you attended one of my classes in the past and already received the Ball Blue book, classes are $20. You may attend the classes that interest you most, with the requirement of attending the free introduction session.
If you missed the class in Sampson and would like for me to host another before the April 22nd class, please call or email me at the Sampson County Extension office. Class sizes are limited so reserve your spots today! If you have any questions, feel free to call your local Extension office.
Sydney Johnson is an area Family & Consumer sciences etension agent, with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.