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My DIY project: learning to can and preserve food

September 19, 2013|By Mary MacVean
  • The DIY and slow-food movements, economy and other factors are spurring a renaissance in canning and preserving food.
The DIY and slow-food movements, economy and other factors are spurring… (Mary MacVean / Los Angeles…)

Now that I’m officially an empty-nester, I decided to start learning some new things. And Wednesday night I started a class in canning and preserving with Ernest Miller, known all over L.A. for his expertise in this field.

In fact, Miller gave us a persuasive lecture on how food preservation is the basis of civilization. Thanks to Clarence Birdseye, home preservation fell off. But there’s good news: The DIY and slow-food movements, economy and other factors are spurring a renaissance. And our class is getting in on it.

We worked in the cafe near the Hollywood farmers market called The Farmer’s Kitchen. To learn the basic process, we made a simple applesauce with Jona Golds, Fujis and Galas. We inspected the empty jars to make sure they were in good shape to seal, we learned to fill them just the right amount, seal them not too tight and place them in water set to boil.

And then Miller's five principles: Cool, clean, label, store and journal for each project.

Just one student's jar didn’t seal properly – but she can eat the contents soon. The rest, Miller says, will stay good for at least a year.

The course is a project of the nonprofit Food Forward and its Can It! Academy. And it’s going to get a lot more complicated, with pressure-canning chicken and making jams and jellies, cheese and beer. Come back to read all about it.

ALSO:

Food Forward's plans

The beginnings of Food Forward

A jam session with Jessica Koslow

mary.macvean@latimes.com

@mmacvean on Twitter

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