Category Archives: Classes

Canning, pickling and other preservation classes offered

2010 Kitsap County Fair canning entries. Photo by Meegan Reid

WSU Kitsap Extension once again is offering a series of food preservation classes so you can take a taste of that very short summer into winter.

This time, all classes are from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays at the Silverdale YMCA, and you can register online. Cost is $95 for all four classes or $35 per class.

Classes start Oct. 9 with a look at Sassy Salsas. Guess what you’ll be making.

Next up, on Oct. 16 is “In a Pickle” in which they’ll discuss the process of fermentation and brining pickles. Participants will make and take home a quick-make pickle.

On Oct. 23, you can learn how to safely use a pressure cooker to can low acid foods like vegetables, seafood and meats. In class, participants will can low-acid vegetables.

Oct. 30 is a look at the variety of ways to preserve apples from canning it to making pie filling, dehydrating, and making sauces and ciders. Participants will take home a jar of apple sauce.

Learn to bake Norwegian holiday cookies


If you’ve ever seen those impressively pretty plates of Scandanavian cookies and wanted to learn to make your own, now’s your chance.Oslo Lodge, Sons of Norway in Bremerton will host three, free cookie baking workshops.I heard about it somewhat late (in today’s paper), so the first one, in which the group baked Spritz cookies beginning at 9 a.m. today will probably be tough to make in time (about 15 minutes as of this posting).

The next two, however, are coming Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, also starting at 9.

On Sept. 26, they’ll bake Sanbakkel (pictured), which is A tender almond cookie baked in tiny tins.

On Oct. 3, it’s Krumkake, airy cookies baked on a special hot iron with decorative etching and rolled into a cone.

Registration is required. Call 360-373-1503 or 360-377-7356.

The classes are at the lodge on Warren Avenue, at the north end of Olympic College’s parking lot near the bridge.

‘Hip Homesteading’ classes teach jam-making, beer brewing and more

The Washington State University Kitsap Extension’s Small Farms Team this week will kick off a series of classes dubbed “Hip Homesteading” to teach skills from jam and pickle making to home brewed beer. (Mmmm beer.)

All but the homebrewing class will be taught at Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way. Cost is $35 per class ($50 per family). 4H and FFA youth are free.

The first class starts Thursday from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. with a lesson in using some of the season’s fresh berries to make jam. Bring an apron and a sack lunch.

For more information on this and other classes, contact Shannon Harkness at 360-337-7026.

Here is a list of other classes coming this month:

Cheesemaking: Monday, July 11 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Homebrewing: Thursday, July 14 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Slippery Pig Brewery, 795 NW Finn Hill Road, Poulsbo

Hot Summer Nights Farmwalk: Monday, July 18 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Red Barn Farm/Wyckels Farm on Central Valley

Cheesemaking: Thursday, July 21 10 a.m. to1  p.m.

Jammin’: Monday, July 25 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

In a Pickle: Thursday, July 28 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Food fermentation class offered

As part of it’s continuing series of food classes, Washington State University Kitsap Extension will host a class on fermenting. (Think sauerkraut.)

Here’s their press release on the class:

BREMERTON – Experienced and novice food preservationists will learn all aspects of fermenting foods at the Friendly Fermentation class to be held at the Silverdale Community Center on Saturday, June 18th, 2011.

WSU Kitsap Small Farms Team is pleased to host nutritionist and fermentation diva, Trish Carty for this afternoon workshop. Friendly Fermentation will de-mystify home fermentation, while simplifying the process and enforcing the health benefits of lacto-fermented foods. The class will cover a brief historical view on fermenting, detail the process involved, and discuss materials to get you started. We will have several hands-on demonstrations to show just how simple fermentation is!

In her book, Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon writes, “The proliferation of lactobacilli in fermented vegetables enhances their digestibility and increases vitamin levels. These beneficial organisms produce numerous helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anti-carcinogenic substances. Their main by-product, lactic acid, not only keeps vegetables and fruits in a state of perfect preservation but also promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestine.”

Friendly Fermentation will be held on Saturday, June 18th, 1:00pm – 4:00pm at the Silverdale Community Center, 9729 Silverdale Way NW, Silverdale, WA 98383. Cost for the class is $35/person or $50/ family. As always, 4-H and FFA youth are free. To register visit the WSU Kitsap

Extension website at For more information about Friendly Fermentation contact Shannon Harkness at 360-337-7026 or

About the WSU Kitsap Extension Small Farms Team:
The Small Farms Team provides educational programs and research-based information for Kitsap
farmers, consumers, decision-makers, and others involved in local food systems. Learn more at: WSU Extension programs and employment are available to all without
discrimination. Evidence of noncompliance may be reported to your local WSU Extension office.

Shellfish Harvesting: A morning at Dosewallips in photos

BRINNON — The Olympic Mountains and a bald eagle perched in a tall tree stood guard over a wide expanse of tideland near the estuary of the Dosewallips River.

“Welcome to my office,” said John Adams, Taylor Shellfish Farms’ Dosewallips manager.

He was talking to a group of a couple dozen people plucking oysters from the beach as part of an outdoor program on shellfish foraging with Bainbridge island Metro Parks and Recreation District and Langdon Cook, blogger and author of “Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager.”

It was among a series of classes (I also went to one on nettle foraging) designed to get people outdoors and get people reconnected with the bounty around them.

We had started the day at Dosewallips State Park, going over what kind of clams we might find on the beach — butter, varnish/mahogany, manilla and native littlenecks.

“Digging for oysters and clams is super easy and cooking them is even easier,” Cook reassured everyone before we headed just north of the park to Taylor Shellfish property to forage.

Before you go:

To harvest clams and oysters on a public beach, you need a permit, which is sold online or at most sporting goods stores, Fred Meyer, Wal-Mart and Kingston and North Mason chamber of commerce offices. You must be 15 or older. Cost is $12 annually or cheaper for a one-day permit. How many shellfish you can harvest varies from beach to beach.

Clam Rules: Most species must be 1.5 inches wide. Fill in your hole when you’re done digging in it.

Oyster rules: Bring your shucking knife, because on public beaches, you’re required to leave the shells there (the backs of those shells are where new oysters will grow).Oysters must be 2.5 inches or larger.

Where to go: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has lists of public beaches where you can harvest shellfish. You can search by county or click on the map, then click on a beach to see whether it’s open and to find links to the Health Department for any toxin concerns.

When to go: Low tide is the best time to find oysters. Consult your favorite tide chart or try this one, which has a clickable map with links to that area’s high and low tides by month and day.

Up Next on The Food Life: How to cook ’em

Bainbridge offers encore stinging nettle class

Did you read about the stinging nettle foraging trip last month and wish you were there? Well, Bainbridge Island’s park and recreation district has decided to offer an encore presentation with author and foraging guru Langdon Cook.

This time around, the nettles participants gather during a short morning hike will be turned into a pesto pasta.

The class is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 13 (yes, that’s next week). Cost is $35 for island residents, $5 more for those off-island. Register by calling 206-843-2306 or go to Here’s the flyer (pdf) for the class if you want to print it off.

Bainbridge foraging class a reminder of ‘bounty of the land’

On a recent sunny weekday afternoon, noted Northwest forager and “Fat of the Land” author (and blogger) Langdon Cook stood in a clearing in the Gazzam Lake preserve shaking a clipping from a stinging nettle.

“I remember the first time I got stung by nettles as a kid .. and then years later I have a distinct and fresh memory of eating them, having my revenge,” he said.

And with that, he and 16 people from Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Tacoma and trekked through the woodlands, snipping at a seemingly endless supply of the weed. They filled baskets and paper sacks and in a Strawberry Hill Park kitchen, sauteed onions, potatoes, garlic, added stock and whirled in freshly washed (using tongs) nettles into a a nettle soup.

From the taste, this revenge was a dish best served … with a scrape of nutmeg. The nettles added a bright note to the soup, which was akin to a potato leek style. No blistered tongues were found (boiling or drying destroys many of the stinging compounds in the nettle hairs), though I did feel a slight and very likely psychosomatic tingle on my tongue.

In the search for new tastes and exotic foods, it can be easy to forget that a walk through the woods can offer an edible bounty. It’s a lesson I’ve often forgotten, and one I was gratefully reminded of this week as I shot video for Tristan Baurick’s story on nettles.

As a kid, my grandma used to come home from a friend’s Hood Canal beachfront house with strands of seaweed, occasional bunches of horsetail shoots or bags of woodsy mushrooms. Or she’d put a garden shovel in my hand and tell me to dig fast for those butter clams.

A renewed appreciation for the food around us — and a way to entice foodies outdoors — is one Bainbridge Metro Park and Recreation District’s Jeff Ozimek hopes to spark with a series of spring and summer classes called “Bounty of the Land.”

“One of my biggest passions is going to hike in the woods and being able to figure out what to eat,” he said.

The classes, which opened for registration this week, will be led by Cook and others and range from digging and cooking shellfish on the beach to picking berries for pies. Classes cost $30 to $75 for island residents, though for $5 extra, non-residents can take them too. They encourage you to sign up early; some classes fill fast while others may be cancelled if there aren’t enough people who sign up.

Here are a few of the classes coming up. Download the “Bounty of the Land pdf” to see them all and register at

Oyster gardening, April 11: Take a tour of the Taylor Shellfish Hatchery, learn aout the gear you need, when to harvest and sample a variety of oysters on the half shell. Cost: $29.

Shellfish Foraging and Cooking, May 1 (repeated May 18): Visit Taylor Shellfish Farms with Langdon Cook to learn about several species of Puget Sound shellfish, learn how to shcuk them and cook a batch with a champagne vinegar and white wine sauce. Cost: $49.

Geoduck Dig, June 15: Hunt for the difficult-to-get geoduck with Langdon Cook and learn how to cook the briny delicacy. Cost: $75.

I hope to take a couple more of BI Parks’ classes this year, and would love to hear from any of you who do the same.

Class Teaches How to Forage for Stinging Nettles on Bainbridge Island

In some circles, it’s considered a painful annoyance when hiking in shorts. In others, stinging nettles are a superfood.

For the latter group, Bainbridge Parks and Recreation will offer a class on how to forage for nettles in local parks as well as how not to get stung and how to cook it with food foraging blogger and author Langdon Cook. Participants will leave both with knowledge and some stinging nettle soup.

The class comes during peak nettle-foraging season, early spring, when the plants are tender. The class runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 23 (unfortunately for the working class, that’s on a Wednesday). Cost is $35.

Bremerton Cooking Classes Offered Jan. 29

Creative Cooking School plans to offer a day full of classes on Jan. 29 at the Westgate Fire Hall on Rocky Point in Bremerton.

Five classes are offered:

  • Breakfast and breads (demonstration of muffins, scones, quick breads and cinnamon rolls) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
  • Pizzas and calzones (demonstration including making crust, sauces and toppings) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
  • Gum Paste flowers (hands-on class to make these cake decorations) from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Basic cake decorating (demonstrations of icing, borders, flowers and figure piping) 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • An Evening Out (menu TBA, appetizer, main course and dessert) 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Cost is $25 per person per class. E-mail or call (360) 731-0288 by Jan. 26 to register for classes.

Sausages: Good to Eat, Not So Pretty to Make

A famous quote, though with a political, not necessarily food leaning, seems to be an appropriate thing to start this blog post with: “Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.”

Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness mix spices for a bratwurst recipe.

I think Otto von Bismark was saying that neither process is pretty. However, I’m going to disagree with it — sausage making — not inspiring respect.

Monday, I had the pleasure of taking that meat-preserving class, much of which involved making sausages, offered through the Small Farms Team with Washington State University’s Kitsap County Extension, taught by Kitsap Farm to Fork bloggers Diane Fish and Shannon Harkness.

They covered the basics of temperatures, how-tos, offered recipes and resources and explained to the the 16-member class —half of whom seemed to be hunters — why making your own sausage can be better than store bought.

In a time when more people are joining the slow food movement,  concerned about the safety and healthfulness of processed foods, acts like canning or making your own sausage have made a comeback.

“(Sausage is) a processed food, but you control the process,” Fish said.

Beyond the benefit of health and supporting local farms, though, it also allows you to control the taste, as demonstrated while they added spice to ground pork, cooked up a patty and added more or different spices to taste.

I won’t claim to offer a complete guide to sausage making in this post, but I thought I’d offer some of the highlights (and the photos to go with it). Harkness said they plan to offer more food preservation classes through next year, with a jam-making class coming up next month with classes on cheese-making, raising chickens and more on the way. If you wish you’d made this class or have a suggestion for another class, let her know at

To start, let’s just say ground meat is not pretty. Fish recommended making sure that the meat to fat ratio is 4 to 1 so it holds together. And you have to mix in the spices well:

You can use natural or collagen casings, like the one shown below. The benefit of natural casings for some is the taste and the feel when you bite it and it seems to be more elastic when pushing in the sausage meat. The drawback being that you have to soak and rinse them really well. And while it’s being rinsed, it looks like, um, well … a child’s balloon. Yeah, the kind of balloon that you twist to make funny hats or poodles:

You can use one of multiple kinds of machines to stuff it or by hand with a funnel (not recommended). A couple are available for rent through the WSU Extension. Or you can purchase one online or at a local sporting goods or some hardware stores.

Once you’ve filled out a casing, you can easily twist it into multiple little sausages, like Fish did for this bratwurst:

And, of course, the best part of the class was the post-creation taste-testing complete with sauerkraut: