Agricultural Canning Center

Today's modern Canning Center serves a different function than the original facility built in the early 1930s to feed inmates at a nearby prison.  Changed during World War II, it continues today to serve the community by teaching food preservation and storage techniques.  

The facility on Commonwealth Avenue was built in 1978 to better serve Jacksonville's growing population.  Air conditioned and recently updated,  the Canning Center provides an institutional kitchen environment.  All equipment necessary for canning is provided onsite.  Users provide their own ingredients. 

Collaboration between the City of Jacksonville and the University of Florida, IFAS provides funding for the Canning Center's services. Volunteer Master Gardeners certified in thermal processing provide oversight to the facility as well as support education to clientele who utilize the services. The client list includes Duval County residents, boaters, various churches, people on restricted diets, non-profit organizations within the city, the 4-H School Enrichment Program and other governmental agencies.  It is also used within the Extension Office to train its many master food and master gardener volunteers who subsequently assist in educational programming throughout the city. 

The Canning Center has established a partnership with Duval County Schools, providing educational tours and teaching the value of agriculture to school age children throughout Jacksonville.  Students arrive at the center after touring a nearby farmer's market.  A Canning Center Volunteer Supervisor leads students through an educational program that teaches the difference between high-acid and low-acid foods and gives basic principles of food and kitchen safety, including a practical exercise in proper hand washing.  Students are taken step by step through the preparation process.  Finally, the students can their own snack, and watch the Supervisor seal it mechanically and the students take it with them when they leave.  The tour is free to students and is a favorite tour for both students and teachers. However, there is a cost for the cans.

Hours:  By Appointment Only - Monday - Saturday (based upon availability of volunteer Supervisors) Call 255-7450 to schedule an appointment.

Who Can Use The Canning Center?

All Duval County residents who are canning for themselves, their families, churches, or any non-profit organization (not for commercial use) may use the facility.  For safety reasons no children under 8 years of age are allowed. Walk in clients are not accepted.  You must call and make an appointment in advance. 

What Is The Cost?Canned vegetables

$7.50 per hour, per group, including processing time. All low acid foods. (vegetables, meats, soups and stews must go in cans).  All high-acid foods (fruits, jellies, jams, and pickles) go in jars.  Clients must provide their own jars.  There is a $.15 per jar processing fee for pints and $.30 for quarts. To qualify for tax-exempt status, a nonprofit agency must have a valid Tax Exempt Certificate on file and pay for the canning with a check from the nonprofit agency or organization.

What Can We Can?

Tested and tried recipes must be used at the canning center.  The canning of fruits and vegetables are the most popular, but many other items can be canned:  meat, soup, jelly, jam, etc.  The center has some recipes that have proven over the years to be just great. All client recipes are subject to to review by certified Supervisors to assure integrity of the process and quality of the product. Also the Family and Consumer Sciences Program area next door at the Duval County Extension Service has many more recipes.

How Long Will It Take?

That depends on you and the help you bring with you.  Most people who are in by 8:30 a.m. will be out by 2 p.m., depending on the recipe. The more people you bring with you, the sooner you will be out.

What Do We Bring?

Only your product and ingredients needed for recipe.  If using jars you must bring your own.  Bring boxes for carrying the product home. For safety purposes, closed-toed shoes are required.

Where Are We located?

We are located on the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and McDuff Avenue on the Westside of Jacksonville.

2525 Commonwealth Avenue

Jacksonville, FL 32254

(904) 255-7450