By Heather Foran
Preserving food can be a mystifying and daunting endeavor if you’ve never done it before. But have no fear. Maine has many resources to help you get started. Learning some of the myriad methods for preserving produce, meat, and dairy allows us to have access to locally sourced food year round, despite short growing seasons and cold winter months. Here are some resources to get you started in basic food preservation skills.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
The Cooperative Extension provides up-to-date information on food preservation based on university research. Their website is full of resource sheets and how-to videos and they offer a series of hands-on workshops on basic food preservation. For those who want to take their food preserving to another level (and volunteer their expertise to help others learn) check out the 5-month Master Preserver program.
Headquartered in Orono, with offices in each county
Frinklepod Farm is a small diversified farm in Arundel growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, and distributing with a CSA model. They offer a variety of events that are free and open to the public – specifically, classes on what to do with your harvest: cooking, drying, fermenting, and other preservation methods. Call ahead, as space is sometimes limited in classes.
244 Log Cabin Road, Arundel
Urban Farm Fermentory
The Urban Farm Fermentory is an “experimental fermentation center” in the East Bayside neighborhood of Portland. Best known for their cider and kombucha, they also offer classes in beer brewing, cider brewing, kombucha making, and a variety of lacto-fermentation techniques. Check their website for more information and a schedule.
200 Anderson Street, Portland
Saltwater Farm is a recreational cooking school located on the coast in Lincolnville on an old sheep farm. They run classes in traditional cooking methods: bread baking, preserving fruits and vegetables, knife and butchery techniques. And all of their classes end with a communal feast!
25 Woodward Hill, Lincolnville
Winter Cache Project
If you’re interested in a more significant commitment to food security through growing and preserving foods, check out the Portland-based Winter Cache Project. Winter Cache runs work parties on Sundays from 10am-2pm to collectively farm and then preserve the harvest. Work hours translate into shares of produce and preserved food into the winter.
In addition to the resources listed here, be sure to check with your local adult education department for additional local classes on food preserving topics.