• Sarah Lewis to provide free pressure canner gauge testing at Saturday’s Sitka Farmers Market

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SarahLewisThis is a great time of the year to be in Sitka. The fish are running, gardens are starting to produce, and berries are ripe for the picking.

Many Sitka residents have pressure canners to preserve their harvest, and this weekend Sarah Lewis of the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will be in town to teach three classes about canning on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She also provide free pressure canner gauge testing at the Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

“People can bring the gauge or the lid with the gauge still attached,” Sarah said. “If they have any questions about the full canner (gaskets, damage, how to use, etc.) they can bring the whole thing.”

In addition to testing pressure canner gauges, Sarah plans to work with Jasmine Shaw of the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service to have a wide variety of publications available about home canning. In addition, the UAF Cooperative Extension Service has a series of online tutorials on its website called “Preserving Alaska’s Bounty.” Pressure canner gauges should be tested at least once a year to make sure they are hitting the right pressures for safe food preservation.

We posted earlier about Sarah’s canner classes this weekend, hosted by the Sitka Kitch project, and info can be found here. However, the location for the first two classes has been moved to the Sitka Presbyterian Church (from Sitka High School) and the topic and time have been changed for Sunday’s class (new topic is Canning Jams and Jellies, new time is noon to 3 p.m., location remains Sitka High School). The canning classes are $20 each, and preregistration is required (call Marjorie at the number below).

For more information about the Sitka Kitch project and to register for Sarah’s canning classes, contact Marjorie Hennessy of the Sitka Conservation Society at marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.

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• Sitka Kitch hosts Sarah Lewis for cottage foods industry and home canning classes

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SarahLewisSitka Kitch will host Sarah Lewis, Family and Community Development Faculty from the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, for three classes about the cottage food industry and home canning on July 25-27 at Sitka High School. (Editor’s note: The location of the first two classes has been moved to the Sitka Presbyterian Church on Sawmill Creek Road. Sunday’s class still will take place at Sitka High School, but the topic has been changed to Canning Jams and Jellies and the time will be from noon to 3 p.m.)

The three classes cost $20 each. Space is limited, so please register in advance by calling Marjorie Hennessy of the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509. Students will take home the products they make. The classes are:

  • Friday, June 25, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Cottage Foods Business Workshop — Students learn about Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation cottage foods industry regulations, as well as the food preparation and food preservation techniques that qualify. Class includes hands-on water-bath canning, dehydrating and pickling instruction. Veggies and other materials will be provided. Students must bring 8-12 half-pint canning jars with lids.
  • Saturday, June 26, 3-8 p.m., Canning the Harvest — Fish, veggies and other materials provided. Students must bring 12 half-pint canning jars with lids.
  • Sunday, June 27, noon to 5 p.m., Canning Soups and Sauces — Food and materials will be provided. Students must bring 12 half-pint canning jars with lids.

In addition, Sarah will be at the Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where she will be available to test canner pressure gauges and provide other resources about home canning and food preservation.

Also, Sitka Kitch will partner with Sitka Tribe of Alaska to offer a pickled salmon course in August. This class is offered free of charge, but space is extremely limited. More details on date and location will be available soon.

Sitka Kitch is a community wellness project from the 2013 Sitka Health Summit designed to improve food security in Sitka. The different parts of the project include creating a community kitchen Sitka residents can rent to prepare food for their small businesses or to preserve their family harvest of fish, game, or garden veggies; expanding Sitka’s emergency food storage capacity; and providing education about preserving food and building family emergency food pantries.

For more information about the Sitka Kitch project, contact Marjorie Hennessy at marjorie@sitkawild.org or 747-7509.