How Do I Choose the Best Canning Classes?

Tara Barnett

Choosing the best canning classes depends on where one lives as well as what resources are available. Canning classes can be expensive and the skills learned in a canning class are often easily gained from reading and online tutorials. Some of the major benefits of taking a canning class rather than learning independently are the sense of community, the equipment available, and the experience of the teacher. Beginner canning classes can be a great opportunity to find out whether or not canning is interesting enough to merit a large financial investment.

Canning salt.
Canning salt.

One of the best places to take canning classes is a local community cannery. Not all towns and cities have a cannery, but many still have a large canning facility available for use. Classes at these facilities typically provide equipment but expect participants to bring the produce, cans or jars, and any other needed materials. Many people at canneries will provide advice to beginners for free, but it is usually best to invest in whatever introductory classes the cannery offers.

A canning jar of pickled gherkins.
A canning jar of pickled gherkins.

Some individuals offer canning classes that teach how to preserve different foods at home. These classes usually focus on a particular recipe or strategy for canning, such as preserving jam or making pickles. In many cases, these classes offer complete packages of equipment and tools, and the participants need only show up for the class. This type of course can be great if you don't have the equipment or experience to prepare for the class.

For serious canners, there are many different canning classes that focus on troubleshooting and problems that arise in canning. These courses may also teach advanced techniques or other lessons not strictly necessary for canning. The expertise of the instructor is very important to the value of courses of this type, and it is a good idea to inquire as to what specific topics will be taught to make sure they are interesting.

Most people cannot travel very far for a canning class, and so one of the most important considerations is where and when it is located. Canning classes are typically seasonal and focus on produce that is available in a particular season. This means that one may have to wait for the season in which an interesting topic will be taught. Lessons in canning are also available online, through books, and in video tutorials all year round. These alternatives to classes can provide a basic understanding of food preservation so one can get started right away.

Some canning classes are offered in private homes.
Some canning classes are offered in private homes.

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