Two food preserving workshops are being offered this month through the Community Food Council for Del Norte County and Adjacent Tribal Lands.
Both will be taught by Deborah Giraud, a Farm and Community Development adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension in Eureka.
With more than 30 years' worth of experience, Giraud said that not only is canning your own food self-sustaining, but it's "knowing where your food came from, that it's local and organic."
Canning, using the hot water bath method, will be the focus of the first class Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Family Resource Center, 494 Pacific Ave.
The second class will be held Jan. 25, same time, same place, and partipicants will learn the pressure canner method of preservation.
Participants in Saturday's class will learn to make their own jam and pickled carrots.
Connor Caldwell, food systems coordinator with Rural Human Services, said food preservation classes held during the Food Day celebration last October were a big hit.
"They were so well received that we decided to make it a much more frequent thing," Caldwell said. "People learn to be more food secure" with the canning classes, he said. "They can spend one day doing their own preserving and it'll last them through the winter months when there's not a lot of fresh food available."
Giraud said canning may not always be the most cost-effective way of putting food on the table, but the health benefits are priceless.
"The cost is up in the air," she said, adding it all depends on where the food is coming from.
"If it's your own food or some given to you from a neighbor, then you can probably save some money," she said.
Acquiring the jars can be costly when bought new; however, Giraud says to watch for them at yard sales or ask around.
Participants taking her workshops will not need to worry about bringing equipment with them, as the $15 per class covers all materials.
For those who want to do their own canning at home,Giraud says there are some handy tools that are a must. "You can buy a canning kit, but really there's only a couple things you need out of it," she said.
She recommends a magnetic lid lifter that you can get for about $1.50 and a jar lifter that clamps down on the jar and lifts it out of the water for $6andndash;$8. "And a canning funnel is nice to have," she added.
Reach Laura Wiens at email@example.com.