• 61°

Eat what you can, can what you can’t — Learn about food preservation at class

An afternoon in the kitchen lets Patti Alderman feed her family fresh-tasting vegetables until next spring.

Alderman, part of the team behind Alderman Farms, learned how to can from a friend and it’s been a godsend.

“Four hours of work and I had my year’s worth of corn put up,” she said. “I don’t have to buy corn. I have my corn in the freezer now. It does take time, but once you do it, it’s done.”

The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting a free canning and preserving mini-class Friday at 10 a.m. during the Brookhaven Farmers Market, said county agent Rebecca Bates.

Alderman and Latoya Selmon, a family and consumer science agent with MSU Extension Service, will be sharing techniques and tips.

“We’ve had a quite a bit of interest in it,” Bates said.

The farmers market on Friday mornings is held in Railroad Park, but so many people said they wanted to attend, Bates moved the hourlong class inside the Chamber of Commerce in the conference room downstairs.

Alderman said the class will be a good refresher for those with some canning experience and a great place to start for those who have never lowered a jar of beans into a pot of water.

The women will give an overview of pressure canning, hot water bath canning and freezing, plus an introduction to using an Instant Pot for canning.

This is the first time the class will be offered.

“I would like to do it every year,” Alderman said.

From her booth at the farmers market, Alderman has talked to shoppers who want to load up on vegetables when they’re at their cheapest and most abundant. But they don’t know what to do with them so they’re not eating tomatoes or cucumbers at every meal.

“I realized there’s a lot of people who don’t know how to put things up,” she said.

With the class, people can learn the basics so they won’t have to.

“There are do’s and don’t’s when it comes to canning, when it comes to freezing,” she said.

While Selmon will go over the technical aspect of it, Alderman will offer the practical, based on her own experience as someone who knows what to do when she buys 100 ears of corn.

“That’s my goal is to have enough food in my freezer, or canned, to last me all year and I think more and more people are wanting to do the same thing,” she said. “They know where their food comes from when they buy it at the market.”