Master Food Preserver Program (MFP)

What is a Master Food Preserver?

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.

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

Direct questions about the program to the instructor Amber Benson-Lehmer at

If you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service, please email Amber Benson-Lehmer at or call at 505-243-1386 by Jan. 8.

New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. NMSU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Cooperating.

Who is eligible to apply?

Through an application and interview process, any New Mexico resident 18 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 in-person, 11-part, 60-hour Master Food Preserver course including hands-on kitchen lab sessions from January through April 2024.
  • Complete lab quizzes and pass the final written exam.
  • Complete at least 40 hours of volunteer service as a Master Food Preserver. (If selected as a Volunteer based Master Food Preserver; Entrepreneur based Master Food Preservers are exempt from this requirement.)
  • 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
  • pickling and fermenting foods
  • preserving jams and jellies
  • freezing foods and drying foods
  • freeze drying food products

What does the training cost?

Volunteer based application: $300 per person, plus 40 hours of required volunteer work.

Entrepreneur based application: $500 per person, no volunteer work required (limited to two applicants)

Fee must be paid, in full, by December 18, 2023.

What are Master Food Preserver volunteer experiences?

After completing your training, you will have an opportunity to choose your volunteer experiences. The 40-hour commitment can be fulfilled by:

  • Helping others to learn and provide research-based information from NMSU 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, social media, etc.

2024 Master Food Preserver Course

The application process for the 2024 Master Food Preserver class will open late fall 2023. If you are interested, please submit the Food Preserver Interest Form, application to follow.

Applications will be received through the end of October 2023. If selected, interviews will take place late October-November 2023. 

Participants will be notified if they have been selected by November 30, 2023.

Participants must pay their fees in full by December 18, 2023.

Time: TBD

NMSU Bernalillo County Extension Office
1510 Menaul Blvd Ext NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107


  • Session I, January 25: Introduction & Food Safety: Basics
  • Session II, February 1: Water Bath Canning: Preserves
  • Session III, February 8: Water Bath Canning: Pickling & Tomatoes
  • Session IV, February 15: Freezing & Drying: Freezing, Dehydrating, and Freeze Drying Fruits, Vegetables, and Meats
  • Session V, February 22: Fermentation: Kombucha & Sourdough
  • Session VI, March 7: Fermentation: Kimchi & Kraut
  • Session VII, March 14: Pressure Canning: Vegetables and Meat
  • Session VIII, March 21: Fermentation: Cheese Making
  • Session IX, March 28: Food Safety: Intermediate & Fermentation: Other
  • Session X, April 4: Food Preservation Exam & Party
  • Session XI, April 11: ServSafe Food Safety Manager Certification Class & Exam

* Topics are subject to change based on seasonal produce availability.

Workshop Leader

Amber Benson-Lehmer
NMSU Instructor | Family and Consumer Sciences Agent
1510 Menaul Blvd Ext NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Phone: 505-243-1386