The New Year is bringing a flurry of Extension planning and programs in the surrounding counties. Some of the programs I’m focusing on right now are highlighted below.
Cooking Healthy, Eating Smart. This series of eight lessons will be conducted at the McCormick Senior Center the third Friday morning each month beginning in February.
The series is designed for older adults and focuses on how to realistically eat healthy foods without spending lots of money. The series covers handling food safely, preparing food simply, reading nutrition fact labels plus much more. The program is open to the public at no charge.
Recipes will be provided at each session. Each program starts at 10:45 a.m. in the Senior Center Dining Room.
Food Safety for Churches. I am working with three other Clemson Extension agents using grant funds to develop a lesson series specifically for South Carolina churches who serve food.
The lessons are being created for churches who do any type of food handling, preparation or food service (for example: Wednesday night suppers, snacks at vacation Bible school, selling food for fund raisers, or delivering meals to shut-ins.)
The lessons will cover purchasing food, food storage, thawing, cooking and serving temperatures, food handler hygiene, kitchen cleanliness, transporting food, and more.
We want to pilot the lessons in churches across the state to get feedback from church members who serve food. This will help us determine if the lessons are easy to understand, as well as whether the information is adequate and appropriate. If you think your church might be interested in being part of a group who pilots the lessons and offers feedback, contact me at Rhonda@clemson.edu.
There will be no cost for being part of the pilot group. Your input will help us make this program better and help ensure food served in South Carolina churches is as safe as it is tasty.
Our goal is for the lessons to be piloted, finalized and ready to teach in 2014 across the state. We want to be able to teach the completed lessons (including literature and supplies) at a reasonable, very low cost for churches.
Canning Coaches. This program ran last year and is back again.
Due to the massive increase in the public wanting to learn to can their food at home, we have recruited, trained and equipped select individuals who have a very strong canning background.
These canning coaches have served as resources in their community in a variety of ways: answering canning questions, conducting canning programs, plus giving food preservation talks at farmers markets, community festivals, and association meetings.
They have also been instrumental in assisting me with the canning programs I conduct. This group of volunteers is one of my most valuable go-to groups. They have multiplied my single ability to provide up-to-date science-based canning information to homes in this area.
If you are interested in being part of this group, contact me at Rhonda@clemson.edu no later than Feb. 1 for more information. Volunteers must complete training which will take place in Spring 2013 before they are considered a Canning Coach. We’d love to have you join the canning coach team.
Home Canning Classes. Are the canning classes coming back this summer? You bet.
I encourage you to send me your name and contact information so that you can be first in line when this year’s calendar for the canning classes is finalized this spring. These hands-on, in-the-kitchen classes are very popular, and even though I teach lots of them, there are always more requests than can be filled.
If you know you want to come to a class here are two options:
1. Email me at Rhonda@clemson.edu or
2. Phone your local county Extension Office and give us your contact information and the type of class you are most interested in: pressure canning for meats and vegetables, water bath canning for fruits, making pickles/relishes, or making jams/jellies.