What is it like to become a Master Food Preserver? It’s exciting, it’s fun because you get to play with food and it’s serious. Let’s face it, the last thing we want to do is make someone sick.
I’m Denise Fennell, newly graduated from the MFP program and very proud to be part of this wonderful organization. I took this class because it was like the natural progression of where my education has been taking me. I graduated from culinary school in 2006 and ran my own personal chef business. Moving to Oregon in 2012 made me even more aware of knowing where our food comes from. So I promptly enrolled in the Master Gardener program.
So there I was. I could grow my own food and knew how to properly cook it. But what of long term storage? My freezer is only so big and it was quite full. Oh I had dabbled in jam making, but I knew there was so much more. Next up MFP.
What a great class! This was a course I thoroughly enjoyed. I must give serious thank you’s to all the veterans who put in so much of their time to make this class a success. THANK YOU!! What I did not expect, was, how much I would learn and later ponder and do more research. I became fascinated with fermentation and after first day I had to rush to the store on the way home from class to get cabbage to make my own sauerkraut. I thought if I didn’t learn anything more than that I would be satisfied. But oh no…then it was dehydration. I couldn’t find enough things to dehydrate. It started with some early tomatoes, which then became mushrooms, oh look shredded potatoes, onion….ah onions…yeah those really need to be done outside, like at your neighbors house outside. Once I got the smell of onions out of my house and dehydrator it was on to fruit leathers. You’d think that would be enough…but the information just keeps coming then you learn things like emergency preparedness, infusing vinegars and oils, utilizing your freezer, pickling – sidebar here, pickles are a joy. Seriously, when you go to a good deli and get that awesome sandwich, some good potato salad and look at your plate and don’t see a pickle, you are down right disappointed aren’t you? This is why pickles should be a staple in everyone’s home. And they are incredibly easy to do.
But I would be remiss if I did not mention safety. Every class there was an element of safety touched upon. This alone should truly emphasis the importance of cleanliness, cooking at proper temps for the proper time. I do believe we all could do with reminders now and then and I have even taken on new and safer practices.
For those that have taken the course, I am humbled by the experiences you must have. For those that have not, sign up. Do not delay because this course will open your eyes to some incredible, albeit safe, inspiration. I am now armed with knowledge I cannot wait to share with others.
I have a slogan that I have used for years. It’s so special to me I even have it tattooed on my arm “Food Creates the Memories that Feed Us.” We all have memories of various foods as we were growing up. What a better way to share food than when you can prepare it yourself. Taking that one step further, using your own home canned and preserved foods – priceless.