Locals to get lesson in dried grub

Expert in preservation and safety to teach dehydration course

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If you go

What: Food Dehydration Workshop

When: 5 to 8 p.m. today

Where: Routt County Extension Kitchen, Courthouse Annex, 136 Sixth St.

Cost: $20 a person

Call: 879-0825

— Apparently, dehydrated yogurt tastes a bit like cheesecake.

That's what Routt County Extension Agent Karen Massey says, anyway. Her office is hosting a food dehydration workshop today, and participants will get to taste some samples. Class instructor Gina Hackett said her children prefer the dehydrated yogurt to candy.

"It's a good way to get your kids to eat it," she said.

Massey said Monday that about 20 people had registered for the course, putting it close to capacity.

"There is just a lot of interest right now in Routt County surrounding food preservation," she said. Those who are interested include people who want to buy and store locally produced food, as well as backpackers who want healthy dried food to take on hikes, Massey said.

This course will be the Extension Office's first on food dehydration. Hackett, who lives on a ranch about 10 miles from Muddy Pass toward Walden, will teach it with Candi Loftsgard.

Hackett said she has been dehydrating food for 25 or 30 years. She started doing it out of necessity for her family, and she dehydrates or cans just about everything. Hackett tries to preserve enough food for a whole year. She also makes her own seasonings through dehydration.

"It's relaxing for me, and it's really fulfilling when you look at the pantry and have your food stacked up for the winter," she said. "A lot of the time, you can't get out to go to the grocery store anyway."

Hackett also is knowledgeable about food safety.

"Food preservation is one of those things where if you do it wrong, you could really be making somebody sick," Massey said. "She's gone through a lot of training for good standards of preservation of food."

Hackett recommends people buy a commercial dehydrator if they want to preserve food that way. She has taught classes before and said people tend to pick up the process quickly.

"There's nothing hard to it," she said. "After you learn your basics, there's nothing hard to it at all."

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234 or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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