Alyssa Sacora cans food from her garden to carry on a tradition

PICKLING PROWESS: In addition to canning, Sacora also uses fermentation as a means of preserving. Here a fresh batch of kimchi packed into jars is beginning the fermentation process. Photo courtesy of Sacora


Alyssa Sacora of Fairview studied sustainable agriculture in college and grows much of her own food. She’s an expert at water-bath canning, pressure canning and fermentation.

“It’s not scary, and you’re not likely to kill yourself,” says Sacora with a laugh. “People are always worried about botulism, but if you follow the guidelines, you’re good.”

If you want to try canning for the first time, water-bath canning is a good place to start, says Sacora. “It’s for foods that are naturally high in acidity like jam, salsa and tomatoes,” she explains. “Those foods you boil at 212 degrees for a specified amount of time. It’s really easy. You can make salsa with any pot you have in your kitchen.”

Sacora says there are numerous benefits to preserving her own food. “I can partly to have homegrown food year-round,” she says. “It’s nice to be able to grab a can of green beans or tomato sauce from the shelf in the winter and know that it came from my garden.”

And there are environmental benefits to canning food, too. “Even though it’s work-intensive in the moment, canning doesn’t use electricity to store the food the way a freezer does. And you can keep more canned food than you can keep frozen food,” Sacora explains.

But it’s carrying on the traditions of the past that are especially meaningful to Sacora.

“I also can to continue a family tradition. My mom canned. My grandparents canned. Once when I was in college, my grandma came over, and she couldn’t believe I had a cabinet full of jam. She said, ‘Oh my gosh, your great-grandma would be so proud of you.’”

Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of sustainable ways of living and working in our local community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives.


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Kim Dinan
Kim Dinan is a freelance writer and author of The Yellow Envelope. She lives in WNC with her husband and daughter. Follow me @kimdinan

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.