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Deadline to register for canning classes is Friday, July 22.

Pixabay Photo • Learn proper canning techniques in an upcoming “canning college” that will be held at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center.

By Bryan Stevens

Family and Consumer Sciences with the Unicoi County UT Extension Service is partnering with the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center to offer a canning college this summer. 

“It is important to know the proper methods of preserving foods at home to prevent bacteria growth and spoilage, explained said Extension Agent Tracy Pate. “Knowing the proper method ensures you have a safe product for your family.”

The Clinchfield Senior Adult Center will host two sessions set for Tuesday, July 26, and Tuesday, Aug. 9. Both sessions will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. 

“We partnered with the Senior Center because their members have showed a great interest in home food preservation,” Pate said. 

She also noted that the center has a kitchen that is perfect for teaching food preservation. 

“Believe it or not, you shouldn’t do canning on any stove,” Pate added. “The ideal appliance is a gas stove for canning. There are a lot of supplies needed for canning so a larger space is best to let people spread out and fully enjoy the hands-on experience.”

The educational sessions are open to anyone and Pate noted that the two-part canning college will offer valuable information and is designed to provide hands-on learning about pressure canning and water-bath methods.

“It is useful to know because you have the knowledge to sustain your family during times that kitchen staples are harder to find,” she said. “It also puts you in control of what you are feeding your family and helps make harvested foods last throughout the year.”

The possibilities opened by home canning are almost limitless.

“Some types of produce that are popular to can are green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, onions, beets, apples, peaches, strawberries, and grapes,” Pate said. “This produce is preserved into pickles, relishes, jellies, jams, preserves, sauces, soups and more.”

There’s a less tangible but extremely crucial reason to learn to can, according to Pate.

“Home food preservation is a dying art, like many traditions some of us older adults grew up participating in or watching our parents and grandparents do,” she said. “It is great to be able to teach the young and old a skill that can benefit them and their families for years to come.”

There is a $60 registration fee, which will include instruction for both classes, a food preservation book, all materials and a home-canned item to take home at the conclusion of each class.

Space is limited, so pre-registration and payment are needed before class dates. Registration must be completed by Friday, July 22. Email Tracy Pate at [email protected] or call (423) 735-1637 for more details on the canning college.