We all love fresh food grown from the garden. But we live in New England and if we expect to eat as well in January as in August, we need to preserve the summer gardenâ€™s abundance for the lean days of winter. Learn about the techniques of putting food by, including water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, root cellaring and lacto-fermenting to create delicacies that will see us through the dark days and remind us of what awaits in the spring. An upcoming series of four classes at the Berkshire Botanical Garden will demystify all aspects of preserving food.
On Wednesday, July 13, the class is entitled You CAN Do It! Hot water bath and pressure cooker canning is not just for jams and jellies (although itâ€™s really good for those too). Learn how to put up your own salsa, chutneys and condiments. We will explore the many ways a canner can be put to use creating wonderful and unique gifts as well as enhancing your own food pantry. This class will also cover pressure canning and will demystify this useful method for insuring food safety. On Wednesday, July 27, enjoy Dry it – You’ll Like It & Baby It’s Cold Inside. Dehydrating and freezing as methods for preserving foods are perhaps the easiest for beginners. Learn how to use a dehydrator to make soup, snacks and delicacies to give as gifts or enjoy at home. Home-dried food has less salt and sugar, is far less expensive than the commercial counterparts and fabulous taste. Freezing summers bounty is another fool proof method for putting food by. Once mastered, the basics of blanching, chilling, air tight wrapping and freezing will provide a taste of summer in the depths of winter. These tried and true, simple techniques will be just like having Guidoâ€™s right in your house. Wednesday, August 10 brings We’re in a Pickle Now. Lacto-fermentation is one of the only food preservation techniques that actually enhances the flavor and nutrition of a food. Well learn about the chemistry and techniques of fermenting food on a small scale. Make every meal better with some kimchi. Finally, on Wednesday, August 24, we’ll learn What Lies Beneath. Think you canâ€™t eat garden fresh food in the middle of winter? Think again! With a root cellar, you can enjoy carrots, beets, turnips, onions, potatoes, leeks and fruits like apples and pears all winter long. A well-made root cellar acts like a second refrigerator but needs no electricity. Use it to store wine, cider, lard and all those tasty lacto-fermented vegetables. We will explore what it takes to create a root cellar, how to prepare vegetables for their winter home and how to use the produce you store there.
All classes are led by Kathy Harrison, who has been preserving food for over 30 years. She teaches classes on all manner of food preservation for many organizations and has presented trainings for NOFA and Mother Earth News. She is the author of several books. Her latest isÂ Just In Case: How to Be Self Sufficient When the Unexpected Happens. Kathy and her husband, Bruce run Barefoot Farm, where they raise bees, organic fruits and vegetables.
Register on line (www.berkshirebotanical.org) for all four classes (BBG members $75, nonmembers $85), or register for any individual class ($22 for all.)