Cooperative Extension offering free Intro to Canning class April 28

Posted 7 April 2021 at 9:44 am

‘The interest in preserving food at home skyrocketed last year during the Covid-19 shutdown’

Provided photos: Karen DesJardin has taught several of the MFP workshops over the years.  Here, she explains how to use a Boiling Water Bath canner, which she will explain in detail during the April 28th class.

Press Release, Master Food Preserver program, Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County

KNOWLESVILLE – The Master Food Preservers of Orleans County CCE will be offering a free “Intro to Canning” class on Wednesday, April 28th at 6 p.m. The Master Food Preserver program is a group of volunteers trained through Cornell Cooperative Extension to offer food preservation classes to the public.

In Orleans County, the MFP volunteers have offered several workshops each year, from basic skills like dehydrating to more involved preservation techniques like pressure canning. This year, to start off their workshop season, the volunteers thought it was important to offer an “Intro To Canning” class at no cost to the public.

“The interest in preserving food at home skyrocketed last year during the Covid-19 shutdown,” said Katie Oakes, coordinator of the Master Food Preserver group at Orleans County CCE. “Food was flying off the shelves in the grocery stores and I think people wanted to be more self-reliant with their food supply.”

Jams and jellies are some of the most commonly canned goods, the Intro to Canning class will detail all the materials and supplies needed for this method of canning.

There were shortages of canning supplies last year nationwide, driven by different factors. Many people grew pandemic victory gardens and wanted to preserve their harvest, they had more time than ever to can food at home, and some were unnecessarily hoarding supplies.

But when people could actually get their hands on the supplies, sometimes they weren’t canning the foods properly and safely. Improperly canned products can produce low quality or spoiled foods at best, and in worst case scenarios can cause botulism, a rare but potentially fatal form of food poisoning.

“My intention for this class was for review of safe practices for experienced canners along with the ‘how to’ basics for people who may be new to canning,” explained Karen Des Jardin, a long-time MFP volunteer and the instructor for the Intro to Canning class on April 28th. “I’ll go over water bath canning, which is one of the most common methods of food preservation, but I’ll also touch on dehydrating and freezing techniques for preserving food at home.”

MFP Volunteer Colin Butgereit will teach the Preserving Beans class on Wednesday, September 22.

The class will also showcase the basic supplies needed to get started canning at home, as well as important safety tips to make sure the final product is safe to consume. The MFP volunteers also have a whole lineup of other paid workshops available for the public including Preserving Beans, Thai Curry Sauce, Breadmaking, Cidermaking (Zoom class), and an International Pasta series.

All of the Master Food Preserver classes will be held in the Trolley Building at the Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds, 12690 State Rt 31, Albion, NY.  Masks, distancing and pre-registration is required.

Register for this class or any others in the Master Food Preserver 2021 workshop series by calling 585-798-4265. Email Katie Oakes at with any questions or for more details.