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Extension Office offers class on canning

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Office in Henry County will host an event next week, to teach gardeners how to properly store their fruits and vegetables.

The agency will sponsor a Lunch and Learn seminar, Tuesday, at 97 Lake Dow Road in McDonough, on the topic of "Canning the Safe Way."

Colleen Currie, the Extension Office's program assistant for agriculture and natural resources -- and a Master Gardener who lives in McDonough -- said novice gardeners, in particular, can benefit from the instruction which will be offered at the Lunch and Learn.

"Some people think all they have to do is to put something hot in a jar, and to put it away in your food pantry," Currie said. "But there are certain steps you need to go through. Some people don't want to bother with a water bath or a pressure canner, but you can kill yourself that way, through food poisoning."

Extension Coordinator Susan Howington is the scheduled guest speaker for the seminar.

She said the seminar became important this year, because more residents are growing their own fruits and vegetables than in years past.

"With the economy like it is, a lot of people are planting their own gardens this year to cut costs," said Howington. "When they haven't gardened in a long time, they will call us wanting to know how to can their foods properly."

One element of the seminar, Howington continued, will center on the differences between acidic and low-acid foods. She said that although acidic foods can be processed in a water-bath canner by submerging them in water, gardeners should use a pressure canner to process items with lower acid levels.

There is no charge to attend the seminar. To make a reservation or obtain more information, call the Extension Office at (770) 288-8421.