If you’ve been looking for a way to get back to the good ol’ days, but don't know how, Jaemor Farms and the Hall County Extension Office have just what you need: canning classes.
The upcoming classes — one Tuesday, June 18 on strawberry jam and another Tuesday, July 16 on peach salsa — will teach you everything you need to know about preserving the flavors of each season. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased through Jaemor.
“I think that the culture is shifting back around to more of those hands-on things and being able to preserve food that your own family grew and having those flavors rather than having to buy it in the store,” said Carin Booth, county extension agent. “Because there’s something to be said about in the middle of winter, being able to open a can of green beans and it tasting like it should.”
While you won’t be using fruits and vegetables from your own garden — though you might after this class — you will get fresh produce from Jaemor to use in the class. You’ll learn everything you need to know about canning and how to do it safely while at the farm and be provided with all the equipment you need.
The strawberry jam classes are usually the most popular, and after five years of doing classes just like it, Booth said they’ve found their rhythm and know what people want.
“It’s just something unique to the market,” Booth said. “It’s just not something many places have the space to offer.”
Jaemor can take 12-15 people in each class. Space fills up quickly and has grown in popularity over the years.
“It’s also a trend,” Booth said. “In the classes we not only show them how to do it, but we also show them where to get tested recipes.”
That’s why the classes are so important. While Booth didn’t grow up canning things with family — she grew up in the city and didn’t have a garden — she knows many people in the area have seen their family members can all sorts of fruits and vegetables.
“We tell them the why behind what they’re doing,” Booth said.
Participants will learn why certain things have to be canned a certain way. It all has to do with acidity levels. And in order for it to be safe, the correct method has to be used.
“People are using a lot of different recipes that have been passed down from different family members, but they might not always be doing it the safest way,” Booth said.
Participants will also learn why they have to use sugar in some canning and why they can’t simply reduce the amount to make it a low-sugar recipe. The same goes for vinegar and canning salt. You can’t use regular salt or else your brine won’t turn out.
“We just teach tips and tricks some people may not know,” Booth said.
The goal of the class is to send everyone home with enough knowledge to be able to can things on their own. It’s also to form relationships and give community members a point of contact for questions.
Booth said she recently had someone send her a photo of something that went wrong with canning and she was able to help fix the problem.
“I think it’s something that, while it may not be a life-or-death thing I’m teaching, I think it’s definitely something people are wanting to get back to doing,” Booth said.