Many of you are harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables now. And, the harvest will continue for the next several months. Preserving this harvest, so that your family can enjoy it all winter long, is a wonderful teaching/learning opportunity. You can learn about historical methods of food preservation, or concentrate on the latest technological advances. It can be a time for the family to work together. You can even combine forces with extended family members or friends or neighbors. The work goes more quickly, and it's more fun when there are many hands and lots of laughter and conversation.
If you're not sure where to begin, the Ohio State University Ohioline fact sheets can be very helpful. Here are a few that you might find helpful.
Canning basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5338.pdf
Canning tomatoes http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5336.pdf
Canning fruit http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5343.pdf
Canning vegetables http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5344.pdf
Freezing basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5341.pdf
Freezing fruits http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5349.pdf
Freezing vegetables http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5333.pdf
Quick process pickles http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5345.pdf
Jams, Jellies & Other Fruit Spreads http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5350.pdf
Uncooked Jams & Jellies http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5348.pdf
Did you know that each county has an extension office staffed by (usually) helpful people who can assist you in many areas of homemaking. Most offices employ a home economist whose job it is to teach and assist area residents in many facets of cooking, cleaning and other home-related tasks. If you're not sure of the proper temperature for safe canning, or if you would like someone to check your pressure canner to be sure that it is operating as it should, call your local extension office. To find contact information for the office near you, visit this site: http://extension.osu.edu/locate-an-office
If you would like to teach your own children, or an enrichment class on food preservation, the Utah Education Network has prepared an excellent lesson plan that you are free to use. http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=1169