SDSU Extension offers online and hands-on food preservation courses

Farm Forum

SDSU Extension recently modified its Food Preservation Mentor Program. What was a day-long course now includes online self-study courses and a half-day of hands-on canning with SDSU Extension staff.

Hands-on canning sessions will be hosted statewide beginning June 2.

“Today, everyone is so busy. This training fits better into our participants’ lives,” explained Lavonne Meyer, SDSU Extension Food Safety Field Specialist.

She explains that the online course modules, which include short videos and factsheets, are concise and were designed for participants to fit into their schedule however works best for them. The hands-on canning sessions allow participants the opportunity to ask SDSU Extension staff questions in a comfortable environment while gaining the confidence through accomplishment.

Meyer will host the five Food Preservation hands-on canning sessions with Joan Hegerfeld-Baker, SDSU Extension Food Safety Specialist and SDSU Assistant Professor.

Before its online launch, Hegerfeld-Baker asked a class of college students to test the online portion of the program. Only one student had prior experience canning. “We wanted to make sure that the online portion of the program would not overwhelm for first-time canners,” Hegerfeld-Baker said. “The students’ said the factsheets and videos worked together well and did not take long to complete.”

She added that participants can choose either or both of the programs: online modules or attend a hands-on session. They compliment one another very well. However, if they want to receive certification as a Food Preservation Mentor, participants must complete both portions of the program.

Hands-on canning sessions begin June 2

The hands-on portion of the course includes training in the following:

1. Canning an acidified or acid food in a boiling water bath canner;

2. Canning a low-acid vegetable in a pressure canner;

3. Canning jelly or jam in a boiling water bath canner.

Before attending the hands-on portion of the course, participants are encouraged to complete the online self-study modules. However, anyone interested in canning is invited to attend, even if they have not completed the online modules. Participants must be 16 or older to attend.


• Redfield: June 2, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) at the Redfield High School (502 E. 2nd St.);

• Watertown: June 3, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) at the Codington County Extension Office (1910 W. Kemp Ave.)

• Sioux Falls: June 11, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) at the SDSU Extension Regional Center (2001 East 8th Street)

• Chamberlain: June 16, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (CDT) at St. Joseph’s Indian School (1301 N. Main Street)

• Rapid City: June 18, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (MT) Pennington County Extension – Walter Taylor Building (601 E. Centre)

Registration for the hands-on portion of this program is $35. To register, visit or contact Lavonne Meyer at 605-782-3290 or

Online Modules

There is no cost to access the online modules. Simply go to the iGrow website ( and click on Healthy Families – Food Safety. There you will find the “Home Food Preservation Self-Study Course”. Register to access the course and begin learning the basics of home canning along with access to many tested recipes. Complete the whole course or pick and choose the learning activities you are most interested in.

Home Food Processor Track

• Module 1: General Canning Principles which includes information on the following: Using Heat Process; pH of foods; Boiling Water Bath and Pressure Canning; and Adjusting for Altitude.

• Module 2: Canning Equipment which includes information on the following: Types of Canners; Jars, Lids, and Utensils; Using a Boiling Water Bath Canner; and Using a Pressure Canner.

• Module 3: Acid Foods which includes information on the following: Fruits; Pie Filling; Fruit Syrups; and Jams and Jellies.

• Module 4: Acidified Foods which includes information on the following: Acidifying Low-Acid Foods; Tomatoes and Tomato Products; Fermentation; and Pickling.

• Module 5: Low Acid Foods which includes information on the following: Vegetables; Meats; and Soups, Stews, and Legumes.

• Module 6: Freezing Foods which includes information on the following: Fruits; Vegetables and Meats.

Complete the modules that are of interest to you. If all modules are completed along with an evaluation, a certificate of completion is presented to you.

South Dakota Home Food Processing Mentor Track

In addition to the Home Food Processor Track modules listed above, Module 7: Becoming a Food Preservation Mentor; must be completed if you are interested in becoming a mentor.

Home Food Preservation Mentors are individuals who are willing to reach out to individuals in their community who want to know more about safe home food preservation practices.

Completing these courses is not a commitment to be a recognized mentor; however completing the hands-on training is a requirement to become a mentor.

This program is supported in part by the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (# 12-25-B-1487) through the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA.

To learn more, contact Lavonne Meyer at 605-782-3290 or or Joan Hegerfeld-Baker at 605-688-6233 or