Master Food Preserver Program

Master Food Preservers canning picklesDo 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 resource in the community to provide the public with research-based information from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA.

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 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?

$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.

2017 Master Food Preserver Course

The 2017 Master Food Preserver applications are now available. Apply here or contact or 207.781.6099 to request a hard copy. Thank you for your interest.

Any questions regarding application may be directed to 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 or

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

Application Process:

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 call 207.781.6099 or 1.800.287.1471 (in Maine).