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Home Food Preservation

There is nothing quite like tasting of fruits of your labor. Do you want to enjoy that taste all year long? Let WVU Extension’s Food and Nutrition experts guide you through various food preservation methods.

Browse the Home Food Preservation Guide

Preserve your food along with the flavor and nutrients. WVU Extension Service has long been recognized as a credible source for science-based recommendations.

Home Food Preservation Guide

Canning canning

Canning, the process of placing foods in jars or cans and heating properly to a specified temperature, is a way to preserve many different foods. The high heat destroys microorganisms and inactivates enzymes to preserve the safety and quality of the food.

The Canning Process

Freezing freezing

Freezing has many advantages. It requires less time than drying or canning, and it retains foods’ natural color, flavor, and nutritive value. Amounts can be adapted to suit individual or family needs.

The Freezing Process

Drying drying

Drying foods – one of the oldest preservation methods – is safe, simple, and inexpensive. Dried fruits retain nutritional quality. They are especially popular now when people are wanting more antioxidants in their diet.

The Drying Process

Home Food Preservation Featured Topics


Home Food Preservation Webinar Series

cherry tomatoes at farmers market.

Home food preservation is a great way to extend the shelf life of your harvest, including fruits and vegetables from your garden and meats from the field. Our team of food preservation experts will provide you with food preservation knowledge you need, right to your home.

Beginning on Tuesday, May 4, food preservationists of all experience levels can participate in an eight-part webinar series that will cover everything from the equipment needed to safely preserve to the various methods that can be used to preserve your garden’s bounty and more.

Below is an overview of each course. Registration must be completed ahead of time by completing the online registration form.

Please follow the steps below to register:

  1. Go to WVU Extension Service Online Learning Community System
  2. Click ‘Create an account’ and fill out the info
  3. Confirm your email address
  4. Log in to the site (same link as above)
  5. Find the Food Preservation Webinar Series Course on the home page and click on it
  6. Click 'Enroll me'
Register for the Food Preservation Webinar Series

Introduction to Canning

May 4, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

Food preservation methods have been updated numerous times since “grandma’s day.”  Novice and experienced food preservationists, alike, will learn the science behind food preservation as well as equipment needed to safely preserve. This session will set the stage for all subsequent sessions in the food preservation series and give the learner a good foundation for safely preserving the garden’s bounty. Join Hannah Fincham, WVU Extension Service Families and Health agent in Randolph County, for this intro session to food preservation.

*Please note: This course is required before taking any of the other courses related to canning. The session will be recorded and available for viewing for those who cannot attend the live session.

Using a Water Bath Canner and Jam Maker: Jams and Jellies     

May 11, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

We can jams and jellies in a boiling-water bath canner. Join Cheryl Kaczor , WVU Extension Service Families and Health agent in Marshall County,  this week to learn the canning process for these acid foods. A demonstration of using a jam maker will also be given.

Using a Water Bath Canner: Tomatoes

May 18, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

Join Hannah Fincham, WVU Extension Service Families and Health agent in Randolph County, again this week to learn everything you need to know about acidifying and canning tomatoes.

Using a Pressure Canner: Vegetables

May 25, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

Join Dave Roberts, WVU Extension Service Families and Health agent in Boone and Lincoln counties, to learn the process of pressure canning your vegetables to keep them through the winter safely. Pressure canning is the only approved method of canning non-pickled vegetables. A quick review of pressure canning fundamentals will also be presented. 

Using a Pressure Canner: Meats

June 1, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

Canning is a great way to preserve meats without taking up precious room in your freezer. Pressure canning is the only approved method for canning meats. Join Gina Taylor, WVU Extension Service agent in Jackson County, to learn the process of pressure canning meat. A quick review of pressure canning fundamentals will also be presented.

Using a Water Bath Canner: Fermenting

June 8, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

Join Kelly Hicks, WVU Extension Service 4-H Youth Development agent in Hampshire County, to learn how to make sauerkraut and the canning process for fermented products.

Freezing and Drying Fruits and Vegetables

June 15, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

Canning is not the only way to extend the life of your homegrown fruits and vegetables. Join Lauren Weatherford, WVU Extension Service Families and Health agent in Fayette and Nicholas counties, to learn more about freezing and drying fruits and vegetables.

Freezing and Drying Meats

June 22, 2021 – Noon to 1 p.m.

To understand meat, it’s important to understand the muscle’s function to select cuts that match their end use. Join Josh Peplowski, WVU Extension Service Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Greenbrier County, to learn how to properly cut meat for the type of jerky desired, as well as cuts of meat best for freezing and drying. This session will cover the proper methods for safely freezing and drying meat.