By Julia Howard
It’s hard to deny that mid-summer at the farmers’ market is where locally grown fruits and vegetables are most impressive. Ripe produce overflows from market tables; squash, cucumbers, lettuces, tomatoes. Selecting from the season’s bounty turns the chore of shopping into a thrill.
After you’ve made it through the market, hands aching and shoulders sore from carrying heavy shopping bags, you may wonder, “What am I going to do with all this food?” Cornell Cooperative Extension Nutrition Educator and Certified Master Food Preserver Diane Whitten encourages you to embrace summer’s abundance and prevent food waste by preserving fruit and vegetables.
“I want people to know that preserving is relatively easy. And for people currently canning and freezing, there are things you can do to enhance and preserve quality,” Whitten explains.
Whitten will host three workshops at the farmers’ market on Wednesdays this summer, focusing on food preservation techniques. On Wed, July 26, Diane will present on Freezing Fruits & Vegetables: Hacks to Ensure Quality. On August 30, the topic will be Dehydrating Fruits & Vegetables: Equipment, Tips, Tricks. On September 20, Whitten will teach Fermenting Vegetables: Let Nature Do the Work.
Whitten will share information on a food preservation method at each workshop from 3-6 pm, with 15-30 minute presentations at 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00 pm. This workshop series is free and open to the public.
Whitten has taught food preservation techniques for Cornell Cooperative Extension for 20 years and has had a regular presence at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, sampling seasonal foods, sharing recipes, and offering nutrition information. She provides a wealth of knowledge, encouraging those interested in preserving food to use research-based recipes.
“A lot of online recipes are unsafe and can result in food poisoning, so I often refer people to recipes by the National Center for Home Food Preservation,” Whitten says.
In addition to three workshops at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, Whitten will host in-person classes at Cornell Cooperative Extension’s offices in Ballston Spa. On August 16, Whitten will teach about canning tomatoes and making salsa, and on September 19, Whitten will teach a class on fermentation. For more information on these classes, visit Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County’s website.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at High Rock Park in downtown Saratoga. Find us online at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org, where you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram @SaratogaFarmersMarket.