What is a Certified Master Food Preserver and How Do You Become One?

Certified Master Food Preserver Graduates (and instructors on the ends) – Summer 2018 ~Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

I’ve received so many messages and e-mails from people asking where they can take a class like I took in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii this past June (2018), so here are some answers. The Master Food Preserver course is offered ALL OVER the place, but unfortunately Minnesota and Wisconsin have cancelled their courses for now and that’s why I went to Hawaii. Other states around the country are also phasing it out, due to “lack of funding”. This seems like an essential course to have, especially for us Midwesterner’s, that live in a frozen tundra for a good chunk of the year. There is nothing like cracking open a jar of food preserved in the summer when it’s the dead of winter, I tell ya….

But, before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about what a Certified Master Food Preserver is. A Master Food Preserver (MFP) is someone that has completed the intensive certification course (usually offered) through the Extension Service in their county. They have received in-depth training of up-to-date USDA-approved methods of food preservation for preserving food safely and successfully at home. A MFP must also have a desire to teach others how to preserve, because a MFP is required to volunteer 40+ hours (varies per program) within their community each year and teach others how to preserve food. Each program is a bit different, varying from county to county. For example, Maine offers a course that is 10 Fridays in a row and New York offers the course in 3 days, back-to-back.

The course I took in Kona was spread out over 3 weekends, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I had to go to Kona for 2.5 weeks — OH, SHUCKS ;). Though the class layout and the cost of the class varies location by location, the material taught should pretty much be the same. At the end of the course, there is a long test with multiple choice, fill in the blank and essay questions (they gave us 4 hours to complete it) and as part of passing our class, we even had to present a 20-minute demo in front of our class and instructors, on which we were graded. Oh, and we had quizzes every night too and there was tons of reading and hands on kitchen time. It was A LOT OF WORK but I loved every single minute of it.

Why did I want to become a MFP? Well, because I teach people how to can and ferment pretty much every day. I write books about it and I want to learn everything I can possibly can so I can be an even better resource for YOU. Plus, the course not only teaches you about water bath canning and fermenting, but also goes into topics that I’m not as well versed in, such as dehydrating, pressure canning, freezing and charcuterie. It also has a large emphasis on food safety and proper food handling to avoid food borne illnesses (which is completely avoidable by the way!).

So, how do you become one? I’d start with a general search on google. See what comes up near you. If you need to travel a state or two, be sure to check with the director of the course to make sure you are allowed to attend before purchasing the class.

If you have any questions I didn’t answer, post in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

If you missed my blog posts about being in Hawaii, here is my summary of Week 1 and my summary of Week 2.

To be notified of future food preservation classes in the Twin Cities, please e-mail me at: minnesotafromscratch(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line “Future Classes”.

7 Days Until Release of: WECK Small-Batch Preserving: Year-Round Recipes for Canning, Fermenting, Pickling and More

The countdown is on! My second book will officially be published in just one week from today. I am so excited to share it with everyone. I know many of you have questions about how to can with WECK jars and I hope that I have successfully answered all your questions with my step-by-step guide. In addition to canning with WECK jars, I have also included recipes on how to ferment, pickle and infuse with them. I even breakdown the variety of jars and explain which style is best for what method of preservation and include a quick reference guide to help you translate your standard canning jar recipes over to WECK jar sizing.

I started using WECK jars over a decade ago because I liked the fact that they have a glass lid. The only material touching my food is glass, no questionable toxic lining to worry about, as with other canning jars. A huge part of why I enjoy preserving food at home is because I have control of what ingredients I include in my preserves, so knowing that there are no toxic chemicals leaching into my preserve is incredibly important to me. Plus, with the lid being glass, I can reuse them over and over.

Last week I processed 20 pounds of tomatoes and turned them into homemade Bloody Mary Mix, one of my favorite recipes included in the new book. It’s hard to pick just one favorite because I included so many, such as fermented escabeche, homemade fruit shrub recipes, homemade alcohol infusions (you won’t be buying flavored vodka [or any infused liquor] ever again) and there are also 5 delicious guest recipes, contributed by amazing women, ranging from Canada to Florida.

If you haven’t reserved your copy yet, click here.

Also, my first book, Can It & Ferment It is still in a price war with other online retailers, and is available at the low price of just $11.55, it’s a great opportunity to stock up on a few copies for the holidays. You can order it here.

Be sure to use hashtags #CanItandFermentIt and #WECKSmallBatch when posting on social media so I can find your cookbook posts.

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