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Food Preservation Series and more offered by WVU Extension Service

By Staff | Aug 14, 2020

Many people have decided to plant gardens this season, as a result of the food item shortage related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Toni Milbourne

KEARNEYSVILLE — The West Virginia University Extension Service typically focus on their work directly with agriculture producers, 4-H youth and specific community members; however, the COVID-19 Pandemic has caused them to look outside the box and develop programming that is more general and sometimes less face-to-face.

To serve their communities during this crisis, extension agents across the state have joined forces to provide educational fact sheets and other resources to assist West Virginians interested in growing and preserving their own foods.

With the onset of the pandemic and the shortage of many food items in the grocery stores, many people resorted to growing gardens this year. As summer wanes, the crops are ready to harvest, oftentimes bringing abundance that cannot be immediately consumed.

To help citizens with preserving their crops, the WVU Extension Service has developed not only the aforementioned fact sheets, but also articles and videos outlining processes of food growth and preservation.

A prerecorded food preservation webinar series is available to food preservationists of all experience levels. The series shows how to preserve foods using either pressure canners or hot water bath canners-both of which may be in short supply, as more individuals decide to can their own foods this season.

A squash grows in a garden along an alley in downtown Shepherdstown on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“Even if you’ve been canning for a while, the Food Preservation 101 webinar is required,” said Emily Morrow, Jefferson County’s Agriculture Extension agent. “Canning practices do change over the years as we learn more about food safety.”

Morrow explained that even though food preservation has been in place for many years, new methods and new information on safety are constantly developing.

“The advice passed down from a previous generation may no longer be recommended,” Morrow said. “Just because a technique works, doesn’t mean it is safe.”

For those who are interested in gardening and preserving and believe they have missed the season, Morrow pointed out that there are plenty of resources to help start with fall staple crops, including beets, cauliflower and salad greens. A number of links are available on the WVU Extension Service website on topics ranging from growing herbs to container gardening to dealing with invasive pests.

To receive the link for the recordings, email Jefferson County Extension office staff member April Blaker at alblaker@mail.wvu.edu or Amanda Masters at amanda.masters@mail.wvu.edu.

A pumpkin grows along an alley in downtown Shepherdstown on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Learn more about the WVU Extension Service and the information it is providing at extension.wvu.edu.