After conducting food preservation classes on topics like salsas and jams, Kathleen Splane decided to change it up a bit and tackle a new topic — pickles.
“Let’s Make Pickles” is offered through the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Family and Consumer Sciences unit and will take place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Paradee Center at 69 Transportation Circle in Dover. The class is open to the public and the cost is $15 and includes all the materials participants need to make their pickles.
For the class, Splane has partnered with the Master Gardeners and the Master Food Educators.
When it comes to canning foods, Splane, Cooperative Extension’s family and consumer science educator for Kent County, said that one of the most important aspects is “encouraging people to know the latest techniques. Sometimes things that grandma did back in 1930 might not be the safest options, so we are really trying to get people on board with the most recent techniques.”
Those techniques are taught in the class, in which Splane discusses all of the sanitation instructions before getting started on the actual process of making pickles.
“We want to be hands-on with them to actually go through the steps of preparing the product from beginning to end,” Splane said. “In the beginning, I teach the principles of canning, the importance of the sanitary conditions and sterilizing the jars and surfaces, and also we go through the differences between hot water bath canning and pressure canning and what products need to be done in what kind of process.”
Once the students learn about the background information, it is on to the pickling. The participants roll up their sleeves and get started, cutting cucumbers, preparing the brine and going through the process of water bath canning for the pickles.
The pickles take a fairly short time to make but Splane explained that participants will have to wait 24 hours to pick up their pickles to make sure that their jars are totally sealed.
The canning itself is not very hard, Splane said, but it can be difficult to wait out the process. “Sometimes, it just takes patience. Patience and waiting for the finished product versus going to buy it at the store.”
To access a registration form for this class or to check out other classes offered by Cooperative Extension, visit the website.
Article by Adam Thomas
Photo by Danielle Quigley