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CARMEN KETRON: Clemson offering class on how to preserve produce

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It is getting to be peak growing season. The butterbeans are coming in, green beans need picking every other day, and you realized you planted far too much basil. So what does one do with such a backyard bounty? There are several preservation techniques, and Clemson Extension offers a summer educational series on all the different ways you can preserve your harvest for year-round enjoyment.

Every Tuesday evening in July, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Clemson Extension food systems and safety agent Chase Baillie and I will host a “Plant and Preserve Education Series” at the Darlington County Extension Office kitchen. Interested participants can sign up for all four sessions at a discounted rate of $140 or pick and choose individual classes to attend for $40 a class. Master Gardeners receive a discounted rate of $35 a class. To sign up for the course, you may register online at or contact Miranda Hayes at 843-944-8582 or to reserve your spot.

The July 5 session will be an in-depth presentation on how to grow and harvest herbs in the garden. The second hour will discuss different herbs and how they are best preserved, with a hands-on demonstration of how to make herb butter. You will be able to walk away with herb butter to take home. If you have a lot of basil, oregano, or any soft-leafed herb growing right now, make sure to snip off top growth as that is the tastiest. Then, you can place it in a paper bag and put it in a pantry with minimal humidity to dry. Once crunchy to the touch you can place in a sealable jar to keep for up to three months.

The July 12 session will start with a presentation on establishing and caring for perennial backyard fruits and fruit trees. It will conclude with a presentation on which high-acid fruits can be preserved using water bath canning methods and a demonstration on how to make jam and water bath can. Many folks may be sitting on a large number of tomatoes or the last of the strawberry harvest. Freezing, drying, or jam-making are great options to preserve a fruit harvest. Check out more methods and which ones may suit you best at

The July 19 session is all about “foodscaping” and how to design a beautiful and functional backyard landscape that is also edible. First, there will be a presentation on garden design and plant suggestions that many people don’t consider edible. The session will then turn to whole plant preservation and waste reduction strategies to keep food fresh for longer. Folks end up with excess food that goes bad in the fridge or on the counter because the items are incorrectly stored. Different fruits and vegetables have different storage needs. The best way to find out how is to attend the course for hands-on demonstrations. The second best way to find more detailed information on keeping fruits and vegetables to reduce spoilage is to go to

The final July 26 session will focus entirely on vegetables and vegetable canning. First there will be apresentation on how to plan for and grow vegetables this Fall season. Topics include seed starting, soil fertility, and what varieties grow best through fall and winter in the Pee Dee. The session’s second half will be about pressure-canning vegetables and other low-acid foods. There will be a hands-on demonstration of caring for and using a pressure canner. There is nothing better or quicker than pressure canning foods, and this demonstration will take the worry and stress out of learning how to use a pressure canner on your own. If you are more interested in a DIY approach, follow the guidelines on the Clemson Extension HGIC website for information on how to get started pressure canning that bumper crop of beans and peas this summer:

The Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political belief, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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It has been an excellent year for pecans. I have seen some beautiful trees putting off an astonishing number of pecans. Even at my husband’s homeplace, the 80-year-old trees are having a banner year.

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