To me, canning has always seemed like mysterious alchemy. Using boiling water and a host of strange-looking tools, grandmothers everywhere monitor pectin levels and fend off evils like salmonella and botulism. With so much at stake, it's no surprise that I've never attempted the process.
Justin Miller's canning class has changed all that, demystifying the practice and establishing my canning confidence. After three hours in the Frasier's Gourmet Foods demonstration kitchen, I now understand the difference between jelly, jam, preserves and compote, and I can tell you which pectin to use for which purpose.
I also know that all of those fancy canning tools are completely unnecessary. All you really need is jars, lids, a pot for boiling water, and some tongs. Yep, that's it. For some reason I thought there was an autoclave involved.
At the end of the class, we took home a pile of instructions and four types of canned food: orange marmalade, three-berry preserves, rhubarb and strawberry compote, and hot pepper compote. They'll keep in my pantry for 12 to 18 months, but I guarantee they won't be around that long.
Interested in learning more about home food preservation? Miller recommends Pick Your Own, which has a section called "How to Can Anything."