Scenes from the Safe Home Food Preservation certification course May 14-15 in Sitka

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Food preservation certificate flierIn an effort to train people to teach safe home food preservation classes in their Southeast Alaska communities, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service hosted a series of certification courses around the region in recent months. The Sitka class on May 14-15 at Blatchley Middle School wrapped up the series, which featured several online lessons followed by two-day hands-on classes in Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka.

The Sitka class was taught by UAF Cooperative Extension Service Associate Director Roxie Rodgers Dinstel of Fairbanks and Sarah Lewis, a Family and Community Development faculty member from Juneau. In addition to several Sitka residents, there also were students from Haines, Petersburg and Juneau in the Sitka class. The series was funded by a grant from the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

During the class, the 10 students learned which foods need waterbath canning vs. pressure canning, had a lesson on fermenting, tested pressure canner gauges, dehydrated fruits and veggies, made jerky, and learned how to find reliable resources to make sure their home food preservation practices are safe.

In addition to teaching classes, some of the students will use their new skills for cottage food businesses and home canning projects. One of the purposes of the class was to certify people in a variety of Southeast Alaska communities on how to teach safe home food preservation classes, so they don’t have to wait for a UAF Cooperative Extension Service faculty member from Juneau, Anchorage or Fairbanks to come to town to teach.

A slideshow of scenes from the two-day hands-on classes is below.

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• UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers safe home food preservation certification class

Food preservation certificate flier

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer a combined online/in-person safe home food preservation certification class series for residents of Southeast Alaska.

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Sarah Lewis loads jars of soup into a canner during a July 2015 food preservation class at the Sitka Kitch

This program involves students taking six online courses — on canning basics, canning acidified foods, dehydrating foods, canning high-acid foods and tomatoes, canning low-acid foods, and freezing foods — from Feb. 16 through May 13. Each online class has an option for slower Internet speeds.

After completing the six online courses at their own pace, the students then participate in a two-day workshop in either Juneau, Ketchikan, or Sitka (the Sitka in-person workshop is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, May 14-15, at the Blatchley Middle School Home Economics Kitchen).

The certification costs $200, and there are a few scholarships available. There is a limit of 20 students for each in-person workshop location.

“The main goal is to get local, Southeast community members trained up to offer information, gauge testing, and even classes, within their home communities,” said instructor Sarah Lewis, of the Juneau District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service. “But it’s also a great class for home/local food enthusiasts; planning to teach others is not required.”

To learn more, go to the UAF Cooperative Extension Service online registration page at http://bit.ly/ces-workshops. You also can contact Sarah Lewis for more information at sarah.lewis@alaska.edu or 907-523-3280, Ext. 1.