Back to Basics resiliency classes happening now in Pine River

Some classes are online, though others remain in person at Pine River-Backus School.

PINE RIVER — Back to Basics looks different in 2022 with the event spread out during February and some classes taking place virtually. But in a way the Happy Dancing Turtle event still offers the same type of classes as past years.

Woman filling jar with tomato sauce.
Josica Koopman fills a jar with tomato sauce at Geoffrey Davidge's Feb. 2, 2022 Back to Basics class on canning.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Various classes continue until Feb. 24.

On Feb. 2, one such resilience class was Geoffrey Davidge's "Home Canning - Water Bath and Pressure," which taught students how to can tomatoes two ways. Davidge guided students in blanching and peeling whole tomatoes before canning them in the class at Pine River-Backus School.

He also prepared a tomato sauce that participants poured into jars and sealed.

Man gives group instructions on canning.
Geoffrey Davidge gives instructions at his Feb. 2, 2022, Back to Basics class on canning at Pine River-Backus School.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Davidge gave them tips including:


  • Only buy pressure canners new, as you cannot be sure of the integrity of used canners.
  • Add white vinegar to the water in your canner to avoid water scale buildup inside the canner and on sealed jars.
  • Keep everything hot to avoid spoilage.
  • Buy higher quality lids to ensure fewer failures.
  • Store cans without rings to avoid rust and exploding jars in case any jars have been contaminated.
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Katie Kowalzek takes her turn at blanching tomatoes for peeling at a Feb. 2, 2022, Back to Basics class on canning at Pine River-Backus School.
Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

Participants returned home with their very own canned goods and a Ball canning book.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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