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Canning Classes Offered as an Impressive Learning Opportunity for Community

By Betsy Barnett

January 19, 2023

In 2023 many people are looking at ways to maintain a healthy food source that is economical. As the prices for food continues to skyrocket, access to healthy food becomes scarce, and the quality of food gets even more concerning, it may be time to look back at how it was done a couple of generations ago. The main way food was obtained 50 and more years ago was through large gardens and the knowledge of the food preservation process of canning.

Residents of Kiowa County are about to be treated to a very beneficial series of workshops designed to give attendees the history and considerable benefits of canning and then to actually participate in an hands-on canning class. Both sessions are conducted by local experts who have been canning for many years.

On January 22nd the first Canning Workshop—“Canning for Beginners”—will be held at the United Methodist Church in Eads located at 110 E. 11th Street beginning at 3:00 pm. There is NO CHARGE for this workshop as it is sponsored by the local fitness non-profit Wholey Healthy, headed up by Claire Prince. The workshop will be conducted by longtime 4-H teacher and canning expert Dorothy Ellicott.

You only need to bring yourself and a healthy interest in learning how the art of canning can be extremely beneficial for your family. No other equipment is required to attend this workshop.

Dorothy Ellicott and her husband George, former county extension agent, are well-known for their large and productive gardens. They have been planting and working these large gardens and then canning their own food for the past 65 years without missing one year. It’s how they eat. They don’t have to purchase a lot of processed food at the grocery store as a lot of what they need is canned, stored, and used during the off-months (winter) of the year.

Dorothy says, “I’ve been canning myself for 65 years, but before that I observed and helped my grandmother and mother can their garden’s bounty each year when I was growing up.” Obviously, Ellicott knows her stuff and she is very excited to share her wealth of knowledge to anyone who wants to learn.

The first thing Ellicott suggested people do to eat better is to grow fresh food. Start a garden. She also says, “Plant fruit trees. I know they often die out here, but if they do, plant another one. Many fruit trees species do well here.”

Ellicott then emphasizes the benefits of knowing the art of canning. The number one reason to learn canning is to improve one’s own health of the health of your family. Canning fresh fruits, vegetables and even meats that have not been processed in some factory and sitting on the shelves for many months is the most-healthy way to eat. It is also much more economical to grow your own food and can your own food at the end of each growing season. Finally, it is a safe way to protect your family during these uncertain times.

At the workshop on January 22nd Dorothy will talk a little about the history of canning and the tools and materials that will be needed to be successful in canning food. She’ll also discuss the storing options, and even get into which kinds of foods, including vegetables, fruits, and meats that are the easiest and most successful to get canned in southeastern Colorado.

At the end of this workshop participants will learn to can dry brown sugar making it into maple syrup. The materials for this activity are provided by Wholey Healthy, the sponsor of the workshop.

The second canning option will then occur a few days later. This workshop is offered by the Kiowa County Extension office, and it will actually help perspective canners learn hands-on how to can food.

Kiowa County Extension will be hosting a “Learn to Preserve: Water Bath Canning Jam & Jelly Workshop” on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 @ 9:00am at the Eads Community Building (located on the Kiowa County Fairgrounds). There will be a $15.00 fee and all supplies will be provided. You will take home your finished product from the workshop. This workshop will be led by our Southeast Area Family & Consumer Science Specialist, Abby Weber. Pre-Registration is required by, Monday, January 16, 2023, so that we can ensure to have enough supplies. Register by calling or email the Kiowa County Extension office at: 719-438-5321 - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Pressure canner lid testing will be available following the workshop. If you have a pressure canner and you need your lid tested, please bring it with you. Pressure canner lids should be tested annually for accuracy and to prevent food borne illness. The Kiowa County Extension office provides pressure canning lid testing anytime, as well, at the office.

Note: If you are interested in learning more about Wholey Healthy and the fitness center that is being developed in Eads, go to their Facebook page and contact Claire Prince. Also, fruit trees will be available at Blue Roof Hydro Farm in Eads. To find out more go to their Facebook page or talk to owner/operator Katie Kopasz.

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