Staff members at Metro Atlanta Urban Farm in College Park said, “preserve it!”
“We get a lot of folks calling and asking about canning and pickling, saying their grandparents used to do it,” Margarett Wilson, assistant at the farm, said.
She says the “lost art” of preserving food through canning and pickling is making a resurgence, though.
“It can be a fun hobby the whole family can participate in and if done properly, people can have delicious produce all year long,” said Wilson.
The five-acre farm welcomes visitors to experience the possibilities of urban farming and learn techniques, such as preserving food, while receiving hands-on training on the farm.
“Everything we grow on the farm can be canned, pickled or made into a jam,” Director of Programs Cathy Walker said.
The farm’s crops include apples, pomegranates, pears, peppers, tomatoes and okra.
Farm founder and CEO Bobby Wilson said it is important for gardeners who want to start canning and pickling their harvest to understand the basics.
“Incorrect canning can cause the food to spoil too soon and the idea behind the process is to be able to preserve the produce for a long time,” he said.
Wilson recommended a class from one of the University of Georgia Agricultural Extension offices located in places like East Point and McDonough.
“Many people who work and volunteer at the Urban Farm, including myself, have been certified in canning by UGA in order to sell our produce,” he said.
The Wilson and Walker have the following tips for home gardeners who would like to try their hands at preserving produce:
Fruits like apples and figs and vegetables like beets, carrots and green beans thrive in the fall and can be picked and canned through November if they are still growing.
After picking fruits and vegetables, store them in a cool, dry place for a day or two.
Before canning, wash the produce in warm water.
Use a pressure canner to achieve the heat required for safe canning, 240 to 250 F.
After canning, check to make sure lids are secure and do not move and the seal does not pop to prevent spoilage.
Information: (404) 788-2432.