FALMOUTH, Maine — What’s the best way to keep those apples from spoiling? Perk up those cucumbers? One can only make so many pies and salads, so learning how to can is a low-tech solution to protecting your hard-won produce.

From fermenting to freezing, preserving fresh food the old-fashioned way is undergoing a resurgence. Canning, if done properly, can be a snap.

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is hosting a series of workshops from York to Knox counties to show you how. “Preserving the Harvest” runs from October into November.

Portland-based teacher Kate McCarty starts with an apple chutney Oct. 14 at Bonny Eagle Middle School in Buxton. Her goal is to make confident canners out of novices.

“It’s a lot of fun. You get to go home with a jar of what we make and the kitchen skills to can safely in the future,” she said.

With botulism lurking in the background, canning comes with pitfalls. To pull it off successfully at home McCarty, a food blogger who has written two books on the Maine food and drink scene, focuses on kitchen safety and demonstrates food preservation methods recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We’ve seen a big growth in demand for our preservation programs,” said McCarty, who shows attendees how to use equipment and boil cans properly. “Everyone is concerned with food safety, so I spent a lot of time on that.”

The following day, Oct. 15, she plunges into preserving pickles and fruit preserves.

“These are quick pickles. You can eat them fresh or refrigerate and save for a while,” McCarty said. That event will be held at Portland’s Whole Foods Market. The workshop goes from 6 to 8 p.m.

Up in Rockport on Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, a boiling water bath and freezing class is taught by food preserver Vina Lindley. The same class comes to South Berwick Nov. 4, with a focus on chutney.

Fresh produce, canning jars and other canning equipment will be provided. Fall is a great time to start new things. All you need is a can-do attitude.

To register for an event, visit extension.umaine.edu/food-health/food-preservation/hands-on-workshops. Workshops will be offered throughout the fall. For more information, call 781-6099 or toll-free at 800-781-6099.

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.