EAST LANSING, MI
With grocery prices on the rise, Michigan State University (MSU) Extension offers a solution for healthy, dollar-friendly meals. It's the new Online Home Food Preservation course.. The course teaches up-to-date U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended methods for safe home food preservation.
"Home preservation stimulates the local economy and encourages individuals to grow their own gardens. It also allows individuals to feel confident in preserving what they grow and feeding their families safe, healthy foods," said Joyce McGarry, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator and home preservation course instructor.
It is important for anyone preserving food to stay up-to-date on recommended USDA methods — recipes and procedures are continually being evaluated by researchers. A method and recipe that was valid 15 years ago may not be considered safe today.
"The science-based information contained in this online, self-paced course will help participants avoid dangerous, life-threatening contamination of foods preserved at home," McGarry said.
Whether growing fruits and vegetables or buying fresh produce in bulk, preserving food at home allows growers to capture the nutrients of fresh food to consume at a later date. It can also save money and trips to the grocery store later.
The self-paced online course was designed for people of all experience levels — from busy families who would like to enjoy locally grown foods year round and individuals thinking of starting gardens to experienced home food preservers.
Topics include the equipment and tools needed to preserve foods at home safely along with explanations of various preservation methods — drying foods using a dehydrator, freezing and blanching, water bath canning and pressure canning.
Online Home Food Preservation has a one-time $10 registration fee — no additional materials are necessary. The course is available online for up to one year. Each segment can be viewed individually, or all seven courses may be completed at once. Segments are estimated to take about 60 minutes each.
"This online course is a great addition to MSU Extension face-to-face workshops that are implemented throughout the state," McGarry said. "It is an opportunity to reach a larger audience of people interested in starting to preserve foods at home or those who want to stay up-to-date with preservation methods but can't come to a workshop."
For more information about Online Home Food Preservation or to register, visit http://msue.anr.msu.edu/program/foodpreservation/food_preservation_online_course or contact a local MSU Extension office by visiting the web or calling 1-888-678-3464.