In four weeks, these jars of cabbage (and salt) will be delicious sauerkraut due to the fermentation process. Photo by Barb Brenner

A series of “Introduction to Food Preservation” programs are being offered at the Lima Public Library this Spring and Fall. The programs will cover how to can, ferment and dehydrate foods and are presented by Barb Brenner, CCE Certified Master Food Preserver.

Interest in home food preservation has increased, leading to the need for information on how to safely preserve. Improper canning methods not only can lead to spoiled food but to the botulism toxin which can cause nerve damage and possibly death. If home canning is done properly there is no need to worry about spoiled food or the growth of the bacteria that can cause botulism.

Home canning was the first topic presented in this Food Preservation series and provided an excellent foundation on canning high acid foods in a boiling-water-bath canner and low acid foods in a pressure canner. In addition, the workshop covered all steps for home canning found in safe tested recipes, including headspace and adjustments to processing times/pressure if you can at elevations greater than 1000 feet.

Did you know that not all pickles are fermented? Attend the Introduction to Fermentation program to pick apart the topic of pickles and fermentation. Learn how you can make sauerkraut and kimchi.

Do you like kombucha? The Introduction to Fermentation program will also include a section on how to make kombucha. Fermenting a sweet tea using a SCOBY (Symbolic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) results in a delicious kombucha drink at the cost of pennies per bottle.

What do you do with the abundance of vegetables and fruit available during the growing season? Do you preserve the veggies for use in the winter by drying them in a dehydrator or dry the fruit to make nutritious snacks? Dehydrating is one of the easiest forms of food preservation. The Introduction to Dehydrating program will set the foundation on how to get started. Samples of dehydrated fruits and vegetables will be available to taste.

Each program in the series is offered twice per season; once during the day and again in the evening for those not available in the day. The Introduction to Canning program was held on April 27 and April 28. The Introduction to Fermentation will be on May 11 at 10:30 am and May 12 at 6:30 pm. The Introduction to Dehydrating will be held on June 22 at 10:30 am and June 23 at 6:30 pm. Fall dates are: Introduction to Canning on September 27 at 6:30 pm and September 28 at 10:30 am; Introduction to Fermentation on October 18 at 6:30 pm and October 19 at 10:30 am; and Introduction to Dehydrating on November 1 at 6:30 pm and November 2 at 10:30 am.

All programs are presented for free at the Lima Public Library and are brought to you by the Friends of the Lima Public Library. For questions regarding the Food Preservation series feel free to email Barb Brenner at bjabrenner@gmail.com.

Barb Brenner lives in Lima and is passionate about food preservation. She has been teaching food preservation classes for the last 9 years. Stop by the Lima Farmers Market and talk about preserving food at Barb’s food preservation booth.

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