Post and Pictures by Cindy S.
The Master Food Preserver Class for April started off with great introductions to the world of canning then a fury of anxious canners moving toward their assigned kitchens excited to try their newly taught tasks. As one of the 29 to attend the class I was excited not to be working for two days and spending the time canning with people who were passionate about preserving and learning new skills that would carry them into the future. One goal... to pay it forward.
Our instructors, both from the state of Utah were very down to earth, open to questions, and made day one a lot of fun. We started our first session in the kitchen making citrus fruits. Grapefruits and oranges or a lovely fruit cocktail were the recipes. Doing the work meant finding our way with the utensils and tools we were provided and getting to know the members of our small groups. I have done a lot of this canning already and wanted the "newbies" to step up and get their feet wet. Our jar of citrus, Grapefruits and Oranges looked fantastic and as a group we got into our groove and looked forward to the team work of the next recipe.
Our next task was making Cinnamon Apple Rings. No rings, no redhots, but a happy group nonetheless pitching in to make a pint of what had the "essence" of the directions on paper. Other groups during this section of the class made canned pears, and something else which I never got a chance to see.
Apple "Rings" and Fruit Cocktail
We were given some further instruction since our next recipe was the task of making a pie filling. Again station three (that was us), just by the luck of the draw got the opportunity to do something different. Instead of Apple Pie filling we got to do Blueberry. It was interesting that we actually blanched the blueberries then added them back to the pot and cooked them a bit more with the Clear Gel sugar mixture. My concern was now they were going into a pie to bake some more. Weren't they going to dissapear into the gel? Lucky for us tomorrow we make pies with this fantastic filling and as they say "proof is in the pie" or the "pudding".
The class continued after having lunch with the girls in my group. It was more time for us to get to know each other and found again that we work well together. We were onto our next objective... Jams & Jellies. It seems like a whirlwind of information for the new people. I didn't do this much different types of canning in the first month, but our two newbies flew right along and picked it up quickly. So to Jams and Jellies...
As our instructor announced which kitchens were doing what recipes we were again excited that we were given Kiwi Pineapple Jam. The recipe was very easy, more of a practice to work with pectins in different ratios of sugar. We had the opportunity to try three of the other jams and jellies made by other stations; grape jelly made from fresh red grapes processed in a juice steamer, strawberry jam, and orange jelly make from orange juice concentrate. I don't think that the plum or raspberry ever made it to the counter for tasting.
Jams & Jellies
The last lesson of the day was the art of dehydrating. Now truth be told this was the one thing that I have done once and felt I needed to really understand the entire concept of, but this was super easy as well. Just a few notes to be careful in soaking apples, pears, apricots, and peaches in citric acid to prevent browning before dehydrating, but it seemed everything in the fruits and vegetables were fair game in this process. We went back to our kitchens and each group filled up two trays to process overnight for tasting tomorrow. Here are some pictures of the creativity of the groups.
Asparagus, Carrots, Broccoli & Cauliflower on the Dehydrator
Fruit Leather with Red Hots
Grape Tomatoes, Carrots, Broccoli & Cauliflower
Tomorrow will be another great day of salsa, chili, pickling, meats, and don't forget pie! I enjoyed the teaching and support from both the teachers and the volunteers that had previously taken this class and came to do their "pay it forward" time with us. Thank you and can't wait for tomorrow.