Preserving the Delicious Local Harvest

Wildways is our way to provide fun educational experiences for friends, family and supporters all while doing good for the beautiful lands of the North State. Preserve the Local Harvest was one of those events. Master Food Preserver, Benita Moore of Aunt Bees Kitchen, reserved the kitchen at The Redding School of the Arts for a 3 hour class on canning local seasonal fruits. 

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Benita Moore got her start in canning as a young girl in her mothers kitchen. Back then they didn't have all the insights on the safe, proper ways to preserve food. Now, after years of research and technology advancements, canning is safer than ever.


On the menu for our Wildways event was a Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate and Peach Rum Sauce. Benita started the class with a safety prep and then we got to work peeling peaches and hulling strawberries. 

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The next step was to prepare the jars in hot water. The strawberries were blended into a liquid and the extra ingredients were added to our fruit to be mixed on a hot stove. When the juice had the consistency we were going for, it was time to pour into the jars. 

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The head-space on a jar pour is very important for a couple reasons,

  1. too much head-space when preserving food will cause it to brown faster.
  2. too little head-space will cause a bad seal. 

Every recipe states a different head-space, our recipe in this particular class called for a quarter head-space. 

once the caps were twisted (not too tightly) onto the jars we placed them into a steam canner. We waited until the thermometer on the top reached a certain temperature and then set a timer for fifteen minutes.

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after the timer sounded we removed the jars to cool down. The best part of canning is the preservation of the food - Jars can be stored in a cool dry dark place and should be safe to eat for up to a year! 

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If you are interested in taking a class on food preservation sign up at