By Tory L. Davis
Last fall, 118 people vied for just 18 slots in the Master Food Preserver Class at University of California’s Cooperative Extension. The spring 2012 program promises to be equally as popular, local, sustainable—and delicious.
So why do so many Angelenos want to get in on the food preservation game? For one thing, Los Angeles is a veritable urban orchard, with apricot, fig, lemon, lime, orange, citron, grapefruit and pomegranate trees, plus grape vines scattered across the Southland. Because most trees bear their fruit in a relatively short period of time, tons (literally!) of abundant local produce rots on the ground each year. Preserving the fresh, delicious fruit found in neighborhood trees saves money, is imminently sustainable and reduces the city’s carbon footprint.
More benefits of home preserving: no chemical additives or preservatives, and fewer sweeteners than you’ll find in commercial products. Plus, the year-round abundance of backyard gardens and weekly farmers markets allows preservers to pickle, jar and ferment local vegetables through every season.
The application deadline for the Master Food Preserver program is February 10. Graduates of the program are expected to volunteer for at least 30 hours the following year in low-income communities, sharing their knowledge and the pleasures of preserving a neighborhood’s harvest.
Get more details about the program here.
Images by author Tory L. Davis.