Master Food Preserver Program

Master Food Preservers canning pickles
Photo by Edwin Remsberg

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.

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 as a resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

Direct questions about the program to the instructor Kathy Savoie at

Who 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 food-borne 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?

$250 per person (limited financial assistance 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.

2020 Master Food Preserver Course

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Maine has extended our guidelines for no in-person programs to July 1, 2020, and our location for the hands-on class has been closed for the summer. Due to these reasons, the Master Food Preserver program will be canceled for 2020.

We appreciate your interest and will keep 2020 applications on file for the selection process of the 2021 Master Food Preserver Program. 

To be considered for the Master Food Preserver program you must fill out an application and submit a letter of recommendation. You can complete the application electronically or mail in your submission. Any application received without a letter of recommendation will be considered incomplete. If you need a printed version of the application or have any questions call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or email


  • UMaine Cooperative Extension Cumberland County, 75 Clearwater Dr, Suite 104, Falmouth, ME 04105
  • Brunswick High School, 116 Maquoit Rd, Brunswick, ME 04011


Tuesdays (tentative topics):

  • June 16 – Falmouth – Introduction
  • June 23 Brunswick – Jams & Jellies
  • July 14 – Brunswick – Drying Herbs
  • July 28 – Brunswick – Low Acid Canning
  • Aug 4 – Brunswick – Pickling & Fermenting
  • Aug 11 – Brunswick – Freezing Fruit
  • Aug 18 – Brunswick – Tomatoes & Tomato Products
  • Aug 25 – Brunswick – Canning Acid Foods
  • (WEDNESDAY) Sept 2 – Falmouth – Winter Storage
  • Sept 8 – Falmouth – Final

Time: 5:30—8:30 PM

Workshop Leader: Kathy Savoie, MS, RD, Extension Educator

Application Process:

  • Application deadline is May 1, 2020 before 4:30 PM
  • One letter of recommendation required and due by Friday, May 1st before 4:30 PM
  • 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. Any application received without a letter of recommendation will be considered incomplete. If you need a printed version of the application call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine) or email