Helping to preserve Alaska foods

Green beans with jalapeņos are prepared during a canning class in Skagway.
Green beans with jalapeņos are prepared during a canning class in Skagway.

Food preservation classes on everything from making jerky and mozzarella to canning fish and game meat remain a staple of Extension work.

We’re reaching out in new and different ways now. In addition to hands-on classes, DVDs and online lessons on food preservation topics, we’re getting social. Agents launched a food safety, preservation and health Facebook page to answer questions and provide resources on topics such as storing potatoes, using a meat thermometer and finding cranberry sauce recipes.

The runaway hit on the Facebook site was our post about zucchini chips — so far it’s garnered 1,847 likes and it’s been shared more than 20 times. Fairbanks agent Roxie Dinstel says she thinks the post generated interest because of the late summer timing. “People were looking for things to do with zucchini,” she says.

Agents started the site as a way to reach a different audience and are having fun with it. They take turns posting to the site and answering questions.

Agents also happily provide food preservation guidance on the phone, by email and online. Got a question? Call Extension’s toll-free number at 877-520-5211 to be connected to an agent, or ask an expert online.

FYI ...

  • Agents offered food preservation classes in 2013 to 951 Alaskans in 24 communities across the state. They tested 679 pressure canner gauges, demonstrating how to make adjustments or recommending replacement.
  • Our Preserving Alaska’s Bounty series includes 11 DVDs on topics ranging from canning, pickling and drying foods to making sausage and jerky. Interactive lessons on many of the same topics are available online.
  • More than 50 food preservation publications may be downloaded for free from Extension’s website or ordered for a nominal cost. Search the catalog online.
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