It seemed up here in the north that spring would never come - and now we're headed rapidly into that time of year when everything is ripe and abundant in our gardens and at local farms, and learning to put food up can make it possible for you to enjoy summer in winter, and continue eating locally as long as possible. It can be overwhelming when you start preserving, so if you'd like a friendly voice to walk you through it, please join us, starting next Tuesday!
The class is on-line and asynchronous, and you can participate at your own pace. Every week we'll have projects involving what's growing in gardens and markets to get you familiar with the basics of preserving the harvest, and also help you build up food security by building up a reserve of stored food.
My hope is that at the end of the class, everyone will have a plan for how they want to go about increasing their food storage reserves, and will have tried the major methods of food storage. You will be able to watch the jars increase as the class goes on, and you'll be ready for peak preserving season.
Here's a rough syllabus:
Week 1, May 31 - Introduction to Food Storage, How much, where to put it, and how? Can I afford this? Low energy overview of food preservation methods. Storing Water, making space.
Week 2, June 7: Water bath canning 101, Preserving with Salt, Sugar and Honey, Bulk purchasing, sourcing local foods, finding food to preserve, what food storage can and can't do.
Week 3, June 14: Dehydration basics, Tools you need and where to get them, Menu making and how to get people to eat from your pantry, Setting up your kitchen for food storage, Storing herbs and spices, Sourdoughs and grain ferments, Preserving foraged foods.
Week 4 June 21: Lactofermentation; Special needs and health issues; Storing food for children, the elderly, pregnant and lactating women; Storing medications, gluten-free storage; Basic dairy preservation and cheesemaking; Building up your pantry and Managing your reserves.
Week 5, June 28: Pressure Canning; Beverages, Teas and Drinks; Preserving in Alcohol, Coops and Community Food Security; More Menus and Recipes; Root Cellaring and in-Garden Storage.
Week 6, July 5: Season extension, Preserving Meats, Sprouting, The next Steps, Getting Your Community Involved, Teaching others, Food Preservation as a Cottage Industry.
We will try and track the seasonal produce coming in, support each other as we experiment with new techniques and build up our pantries as we go - and have a lot of fun! If you are interested in joining, cost of the class is $150 or equivalent barter if we can come to a mutually agreeable arrangement.. I also have three scholarship spots remaining for low income participants who would otherwise be unable to afford to take the class. If you'd like to donate to the scholarship fund, just let me know - 100% of your donation goes to making classes available to low income participants. Email me to enroll or with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ok, off to do something with the rhubarb coming in!
Gluten-free storage, yay! I have discovered my body is much happier without wheat (and most grains, really), but most storage books seem to *focus* on wheat!
One question to start off: is it possible to ferment stuff (kimchee, sauerkraut, etc) without having to buy the amazingly expensive red-wing style crocks? can glass jars or baking dishes be used instead?
@ Curious; i found that kimchee worked in glass jars. It helps if you loosen the lids every day or two to release the gas, otherwise they pressurise and are impossible to open (and you get no kimchee :( ).
Sunday Sacrilege pz's blaspheming head
@curious, You can use any non-reactive (crockery or glass) vessel that you can fit something inside to keep the fermenting contents under the brine. I started in quart sealers (a half-pint sealer was the "weight") and then found some antique fermenting crocks in a second-hand store for a song. Thrift stores sometimes have the inserts of crockpots, and they work well, too.
We're currently fermenting about 3 gallons of kale that came off the patch we've planted beans in (hooray!). It looks a LOT more evil than sauerkraut, but I'm pretty sure it'll work ok . . . :)