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Rejuvenating a lost art

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Roane County Extension office brings the culture of canning back

By Kaitlin Keane

Canning, a colorful and tasty culinary art is being revived, thanks to the help of the Roane County UT Extension office.

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They are doing thi s with their Canning College, a beginner’s guide to canning.

The three part class covers water bath canning, pressure canning and freezing and drying.

“We hope that people can get a good sense of how to can at home,” said Justin Thomas, UT Extension agent. “And how to take care of their own harvest.”

That’s one of the main reasons Tracy Pickering of Kingston wanted to take the class.

“I love knowing where my own food comes from,” Pickering said. Her own garden has been rather plentiful this year.

But it also hits a little closer to the heart for Pickering.

Pickering’s grand- mother was the first one to teach her any sort of canning process as a kid.

“It makes me feel like I’m re-growing up.”

The extension office offered a shortened version of the class last year and that’s when Barbara Smith of Rockwood first took it.

The 30-plus year long canning veteran felt the class was beneficial to a seasoned canner like herself.

“I was able to learn new things and learn things that I was not doing correctly with the times,” Smith said.

The class is open to anyone but is limited to only 10 spots.

“We want to make sure everyone gets hands-on experience,” Thomas said.

A $50 fee is associated with the class to cover the cost of ingredients, supplies, food preservation book and take home items prepared in each class session.

“It’s a lost art,” said Regina Trew, family consumer science teacher at Midway High School. Trew wants to add this into her lesson plans and teach her students.

Thomas said the interest for this class has been so overwhelming that they are looking to hold another in mid-July. For more information call the UT Extension office at 882-8334.