Master food preservers are never are in a pickle, and they don't find themselves in a jam when preserving food.
If you enjoy working with people, sharing your skills and have an aptitude for food preservation, consider becoming a volunteer with the Washington State University Cooperative Extension.
Training for master food preservers starts April 24 and runs for 12 weeks. Classes meet weekly from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each class covers a different aspect of food preservation, from what causes foods to spoil, to how to prevent foodborne illness, freezing and drying, canning and jellies.
For new volunteers only, there will be two hands-on training sessions. One will be May 29, covering water bath and pressure canning. The second, to be scheduled in June, will be on reduced- and low-sugar fruit spreads, marinated mushrooms and queso fresco, a soft Mexican cheese.
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All food safety and preservation training is done under the direction of Washington State University Extension home economists. Classes are at the Kennewick Extension office, 5600-E W. Canal Drive.
There is a $50 fee to cover the cost of training materials.
To be certified as a master food preserver, volunteers need to attend all training sessions and pass an open-book test.
In return for the training, master food preservers are asked to spend 50 hours over the course of the season -- June through October -- to help spread the word on safe food preservation practices.
Some of the ways they do this are through demonstrations, staffing a booth at farmers markets and answering phone calls from the public. They also test pressure canner gauges during the summer and fall.
If being a master food preserver appeals to you, call Lizann Powers-Hammond at the Kennewick Extension office, 735-3551, or drop by 5600-E W. Canal Drive and ask for an application. Her e-mail is email@example.com. Applications are due April 20.
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