Home Canning: Gaining Popularity and Saving You Money

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Lansing, MI - The popping sound of a mason jar may take you back to your grandma's kitchen, but canning your fruits and vegetables isn't a thing of the past.

Canning is seeing a surge in popularity across the country and in mid-Michigan.

"We just get many, many calls in our office...of how do I preserve this?" says Michigan State University Extension Educator Joyce McGarry.

That's why MSU Extension is offering a $10 online food preservation course to help you keep up with this old technique turned new trend.

You can sign up at any time. The course is made up of seven tutorials that are available for one year. The hour long online "classes" teach you everything from proper technique to money saving tips.

"Just by using the correct equipment and by buying the jars and the two piece lids that we recommend, it is a nice savings for families," says McGarry.

But what's behind this popularity surge in preserving produce?

"Some people like it because they grow their own now," she says.

With the popularity of home gardens and farmer's markets, more people want to preserve this fresh produce.

She says canning is also a great family event.

"Sometimes it is a way of controlling the ingredients in your food," she says.

This is particularly good for people with food allergies or dietary restrictions. For example, canning allows you to control the amount of sugar and salt in your food.

McGarry also says it is important to get informed about the safest canning supplies and techniques. The class teaches you which products are still safe to use when preserving food.

So whether you want to make salsa from the tomatoes in your home garden, or jelly from farmer's market fruit, according to the experts at MSU, food preservation can leave anyone with a sense of accomplishment.

"It's beautiful," McGarry says, "to hear at the end. To hear that pop that happens is a real sense of pride."

If you want to enroll in the food preservation course, visit http://events.Anr.Msu.Edu/event.Cfm?Folder=foodpreservationonline2014 or call your county MSU Extension office. Phone number listings can be found by county at http://msue.Anr.Msu.Edu/.

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