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Canning summer’s bounty: Class offers chance to regain old art

On Mondays and Thursdays this month, Boone Street Market’s kitchen has turned into something of a time portal, whisking would-be canners back to an era when this age-old art could be found in almost every household.
“I feel like canning is an amazing skill that so many people had, and now we’ve lost it,” said Breana Nease, one of the students in July’s Washington County Extension Office Canning College. “A lot of young people are realizing they need to find it again. It’s like one of those life skills that we shouldn’t lose.”
Nease is one of eight pupils in a class led by Extension Agent Elizabeth Elizondo who is currently exploring canning tomatoes, jams and jellies, green beans and pickles.
Each night they explore a different chapter of canning, whether its pressure cooking or pickling.
“Canning is becoming more popular,” Elizondo said. “A lot of people want to know where their food is coming from. This is a way to know that.”
For a cost of $70, with all materials supplied, participants are taught to prepare – and they get to take home – foods in much the same way their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers did. Elizondo emphasizes using only kitchen-tested recipes and strives to provide students with a good working knowledge of canning basics.
Susan Roberts, another member of the class, knows well how important those basics can be.
“I tried canning once and it didn’t come out real well,” Roberts said.
But after just one night of class, “I learned everything I had done wrong.”
Roberts became interered in canning thanks to a prolific garden and a desire to have a greater control of the ingredients in the food she eats.
“We have a large garden, lot of fruits and vegetables and herbs” Roberts said. “I’ve been freezing and drying everything, and I was running out of room.”
After this class is complete, the Extension Office will offer one more summer canning college, July 18 and 30, and Aug. 4 and 6, from 6-9 p.m. at the Boone Street Market. Six spaces are still available. An advanced class will also be offered in September. For more information, call the Extension Office at 753-1680.