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.