If you weren't ready to be a Master Food Preserver, or just couldn't get in to the elite canning class, Food Forward has you covered. The non-profit organization that harvests fruit from private gardens and public spaces to give to local food pantries is launching Can It!, a preserving workshop that will teach you how to can like a pro. There are only 12 spaces available in the quarterly classes, and the reservation lines open today.

Food Forward supplies the fruit and produce, and preserving experts, including The Farmer's Kitchen (and Master Food Preserver) Ernest Miller, Angeli Caffe's Evan Kleiman, Delilah Snell, and canning bloggers Nina Corbett and Kevin West, will lead the classes. Since ingredients are based on availability, you probably won't know what you're canning until closer to the class date, but at least you know it's always seasonal and local.

Since its inception in 2009, Food Forward has gleaned more than 411,000 pounds of fruit and produce around Southern California, with 100 percent of the picks going to local food pantries. After you get a jar of your own handiwork, most of what you can in the workshop will be sold at The Farmer's Kitchen and farmers' markets around town to benefit the non-profit organization. So you get some knowledge plus something delicious that you made, and Food Forward gets some dough to keep doing what it does. A win-win all around.

The cost is $475 for four classes, which includes a Can It! apron, a Ball canning accessories kit, and recipes. The first of the series takes place on June 4, with subsequent dates set for August 20 and November 5 of this year, and February 20 in 2012.

If you can't make the workshops, Food Forward is always looking for volunteers for picks, and for property owners looking to clean out their fruit trees, private orchards or gardens. Think of it this way: It's one of the few times you can let someone else do the work, but still feel good about it.

LA Weekly