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Food Preservation - Master Food Preserver Program

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Do you enjoy the art and science of food preservation? Would you like to develop expertise in food preservation? Consider becoming a Master Food Preserver.

Application available now.  See below for application information.

What is a Master Food Preserver?

Master Food Preservers serve to extend Extension’s education programs in food preservation to adults and youth. The Master Food Preserver serves as a volunteer and resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Master Food Preserver sets a pot of water on the stove to boilWho is eligible to apply?

Through an application process, any Maine resident 21 years or older is eligible to take the Master Food Preserver course. To become a Master Food Preserver, accepted applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Attend the 10-part, 35-hour Master Food Preserver course including hands-on kitchen lab sessions.
  • Complete lab quizzes and pass the final written exam.
  • Complete at least 20 hours of volunteer service as a Master Food Preserver.
  • Complete quarterly reports on the number of public contacts made.

To learn more view the Master Food Preserver Volunteer Role Description

What does the training cover?

During the lectures, discussions and hands-on kitchen lab experiences, you will learn:

  • the latest information on food safety and food preservation;
  • prevention of foodborne illness;
  • food storage and safety;
  • canning basics;
  • canning acid foods;
  • canning low-acid foods;
  • pickled and fermented foods;
  • preserving jams and jellies;
  • freezing foods; and
  • drying food products.

What does the training cost?

We offer a sliding scale course fee based on household income:
$125 for an income of $40,000 or less per year
$220 for an income of $40,001 to $70,000 per year
$330 for an income of $70,001 or more per year

Partial scholarships are available.

What are Master Food Preserver volunteer experiences?

After completing your training, you will have an opportunity to choose your volunteer experiences. The 20-hour commitment can be fulfilled by

  • Helping others to learn, and provide research-based information from UMaine Extension.
  • Providing information at local farmers’ markets, fairs, or community events.
  • Conducting presentations and workshops as part of a team or on your own for community groups and schools.
  • Preparing educational displays, writing articles for newsletters, newspapers, etc.

2014 Master Food Preserver Course

Whole Foods Market

This program was made possible in part by Whole Foods Market.

2014 Master Food Preserver application process is closed.  If you are interested in 2015 Master Food Preserver course or  need additional information contact Tel. 781-6099 or 1-800-287-1471 or email Lois Elwell at

Location: Gorham Middle School, Family and Consumer Science Room, 106 Weeks Road, Gorham, ME 04038 and UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County, 75 Clearwater Drive, Falmouth, ME 04105
Dates: 10 evening sessions, mid-June through September
Time: 5:30 PM—8:30 PM
Workshop Leader: Kathy Savoie, MS, RD, Extension Educator

Application Process:

  • Applications will be available to potential participants in early April
  • Application deadline is first Friday in May
  • Participants are informed of their selection status the 3rd week in May

Complete the application, paying close attention to each of the questions. Your history as a volunteer is an important part of your application. You will get a confirmation of submission. If you need a printed version of the application, e-mail or call 781.6099.

All applications and letter of reference must be received by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2, 2014. All applicants will be notified by May 23, 2014. To confirm that we have received your completed application, please call 781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or e-mail

2014 Course Dates and Objectives:

  Date Topic
 Session I June 19 Orientation & Overview (Falmouth)
 Session II June 26 Jams and Jellies
 Session III July 17 Drying & Herbs
 Session IV July 24 Low-Acid Vegetables: Canning & Freezing
 Session V August 7 Freezing Fruit
 Session VI August 14 Pickles & Relish
 Session VII August 21 Salsa & Tomato Sauce
 Session VIII August 28 Canning Acid Foods
 Session IX September 11 Winter Storage Techniques (Falmouth)
 Session X September 25 Final Exam  (Falmouth)

Course Objectives:

  • Participants will become familiar with various reasons for preserving food and how various methods preserve foods at home.
  • Participants will gain an understanding of the different steps needed for freezing, drying and canning acid and low acid foods at home to ensure the production of safe, high quality products.
  • Participants will become familiar with the materials and equipment needed in home canning, freezing and drying.
  • Participants will be able to identify and avoid problems with food preserved at home.
  • Participants will be able to successfully preserve products by the methods presented.

Brand names and trade names are included to show sponsorship or for educational purposes. No endorsement is implied nor is discrimination intended against similar products or services.

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