By now, the homegrown tomatoes are finally starting to roll in. Maybe, like my father, you’re looking at several really long rows of green beans and preparing yourself for some long, hot hours of picking in the garden.
What are you going to do if you have more produce than you can eat? Well, you could give some to your family, friends and neighbors, of course. You could also do what country folks have been doing for generations and put some up for the winter. There’s nothing like homegrown tomatoes in a pot of winter soup or chili.
If you don’t know how to can or otherwise preserve food, no worries. The Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering a few low-cost (or free) classes to help you learn. Here are the details:
* Canning Demonstration class – Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Brambleton Center, 3738 Brambleton Avenue, Roanoke. Water bath canning, pressure canning, freezing and drying will be demonstrated. Class costs $5 and includes take-home materials and a jar of vegetables. You must pre-register because space is limited. To register, call 772-7524 or email email@example.com.
* Dehydration Seminar – the art and science of drying foods. Includes what foods to dry, how to dry them, how to store and how to reconstitute the food. Thursday, Aug. 16, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hollins Library on Peters Creek Rd. Free class. If you have questions, contact Deb Chappel at the number or email address above.
If you already know how to can food, it is recommended that you have the dial gauge on your pressure cooker lid checked every year. You can have the gauge checked for free. Details:
* Pressure Canner Gauge check and Food Preservation Info Booth – July 21, 23 or 24, noon to 2 p.m. Free of charge. Stop by the following True Value Northwest Hardware store locations between those hours, and bring only your pressure cooker lid with dial gauge:
Saturday, July 21 – Vinton Store, 2113 Washington Ave., Vinton
Monday, July 23 – Williamson Rd. Store, 2303 Williamson Rd., Roanoke
Tuesday, July 24 – West Salem Store – 2913 W. Main St., Salem