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12 August 2009

canning, preserving, and giving away

making blackberry jam

A couple of afternoons ago, Danny and I set out for the bluffs overlooking the sound a few moments from our home, Little Bean on my back and an 8-quart cambro in Danny's hand. The first rain in months had come and gone in the morning, leaving everything smelling damp and alive. We sang to Little Bean as we walked, who squirmed in her carrier trying to look over my shoulder, to see where we were headed.

We were going blackberry picking.

This may be my favorite time of the year. Blackberries grow ripe purple on the vine in the Pacific Northwest, in backyards and public parks, and along nearly every road. Here, though, we have a secluded walk, away from the street, where the blackberry vines grow as high as houses and the berries are sweet without being coated in car exhaust.

We settled into a patch with fat berries. Ignoring the thorns as much as possible, while keeping them away from Little Bean's legs, I dove in. Every year that I can, I pick blackberries. The thorns that attack me may leave my arms looking like a skating rink at the end of a long day. The sun may grimace too hot on my head by the end. But I stand there picking, moving from one spot to another in a constant quest for the biggest berry, never coming to terms with the fact that the best ones are always out of reach.

There's something humbling about standing in front of a vine that produces fall-apart-in-their-sweetness berries at the same time each year. There's a much bigger force at work in their presence than my desire for pie.

However, pie is always a good motivating force.

As we picked, I noticed that Danny's hands moved more slowly than mine. That's fine, but it's certainly not the norm. After humming to Little Bean and moving my hips to keep her dancing, I looked over again. And then it hit me. "Sweetie, is the first time you've ever picked blackberries?"

"Yes," he said, reaching up for another one.

I don't know why it didn't occur to me. Every summer before this, Danny has been in a restaurant kitchen, working on the line, getting ready for dinner service. He knows much more about food than I do, but he never had the time for an entire afternoon given to picking blackberries.

This has been such a beautiful summer.

We picked 4 quarts, a mighty pile. We were trying to fill that cambro, but Little Bean grew antsy. My hands were pretty scratched by then, too.

We walked home singing in the late afternoon sun.

And soon there will be blackberry jam, tasting of fat berries and sugar, a little lemon juice, maybe a touch of sage, and the lift of that afternoon. The sun on our hair. The baby on my back. The relaxation of Danny outside of a restaurant kitchen. The ritual for me, the joy for him, the newness of it all for our daughter.

In January it could be I'll taste all of that in a spoonful of blackberry jam.

* * *

Have you been canning this summer? Making raspberry jam? Tomato sauce for the winter? Pickling okra or maybe zucchini?

We're certainly not alone.

Putting up the surfeit of summer food for the dearth of winter? Old as time can tell, really. Our grandmothers probably had this knowledge in their hands. These days, most of us need the tutelage of older friends, books and blog posts to learn how to deal with our food directly.

I'm just learning, really. Four summers ago, I made raspberry freezer jam for the first time. And looking at that post flashes my mind with the understanding just how long ago that was. I've come to know so many foods well now, foods I never even knew I existed before I stopped eating gluten. More than that, however, I have a much more direct relationship with the food I eat now. Making my own jam and pickles seems natural.

I like what Amanda Hesser wrote in a piece about preserving in The New York Times yesterday:
"If you choose to watch a rerun of “Friends” rather than whip up some canned peaches one night this summer, then in the middle of February you’ll find yourself eating Chunky Monkey for dessert when you could have been indulging in a bowl of juicy peaches, lightly glazed in syrup."

There are so many reasons to put up our own food for the winter besides the sensory pleasures. I'd love to hear yours. But those of us with food allergies or intolerances in particular would do well to learn how to preserve our own food. That way, we know exactly what goes into it.

Have you been wanting to learn how to can jams and pickles, conserves and spreads? This is our summer.

There's a Canvolution going on.

It started on Twitter, of course.

One afternoon, about six weeks ago, a bunch of us were sitting on Twitter, talking about food and the tiny details of our lives. Kim O'Donnel, good food writer and excited-about-life person I like, mentioned that an organization in San Francisco is having an event called Yes, We Can, a community canning project intending to teach people how to capture produce at the peak of its season. "Why don't we have one in Seattle?"

I offered up our home for a canning party and sent out an email to our friends on Twitter. Someone else suggested another event. Marissa, who writes the wonderfully useful food blog Food in Jars, lamented that she couldn't be here to help. We invited her. She thought, then booked a ticket. And thus, an amazing gathering began taking shape. We have been looking forward to it ever since.

Everyone on the invite list is bringing a flat of produce, in season that week, or a dozen canning jars. We're asking everyone to bring an equal amount in cash, which we'll donate to the local food bank. And then we'll spend the rest of the day talking and chopping, stirring and laughing, measuring and boiling, sharing stories and putting jars in hot water baths. By the end of the day, everyone will go home with at least 1 jar of something for the winter. And, I'm guessing, much more.

Of course, ours is just one house, just one party. The best part is that there will be dozens and dozens of canning parties happening across America that same weekend. Thousands of you will be macerating blackberries, pickling cucumbers, and laughing together. Just take a look at the list of parties and canning events going on in August and September, after this little revolution began. Why not plan your own today?

* * *

And there are also classes galore. If you live in the Seattle area, here are two extraordinary classes you can attend:

1. Preserving the Flavor with Kathy Casey

Thursday August 20th from 3:00 – 5:30/6:00 PM
Location: Kathy Casey Food Studios
5130 Ballard Ave. NW Seattle, 98107

Contact: 206-784-7840,
Class Fee: $55 to cover costs
Class is limited to 30 people. Sign up through Brown Paper Bag Tickets.

What you always wanted to know about preserving … but no one will tell you! Kathy Casey will show you how you can apply the premises and practices of commercial preserving to home use. The how’s, whys and more -- that aren’t in your canning books. Kathy and her can’tastic team will cover the following:

· Jams, Preserves, Conserves and Chutneys- using unique combinations

· Flavored Sugars and Salts

· Fruiting Vinegars and Booze

· Fresh Style Pickling

· Freezing the bounty/garden booty for later preserving

This will be a demo style class with some hands-on. Each attendee will take home at least 1 jar/container of preserved goodness. The class will be based upon what is in season that week. Also, Kathy will have commercial canning jars available for purchase, info on where you can get PH meters and some of her “put-up” creations made this summer.

(I can't wait to attend this one!)

And Marissa, who will be flying all the way from Philadelphia for our party, lined up a great class from Sunday, August 30th while she's here:

2. Canning Basics with Marisa McClellan: Fruit Jam
Sunday, August 30, 2009
2:00 to 3:30 PM
Learn just how easy it is to make and can a batch of jam from scratch. If you’ve never done any canning because you think it’s too complicated, this class will change your mind and your pantry forever. Each student will head home with the knowledge they need to make their own jam (as well as a small jar of the jam made in class that day). To sign up, email me at

Cost: $45

I haven’t determined what kind of jam we’ll make in the class, I’m planning on waiting to see what looks good when I get into town the day before. I assure you though, whatever we make is certain to be delicious.

The class will be held at Starry Nights Catering & Events, 11200 Kirkland Way, #220, Kirkland, WA.

* * *

With all this, do you need more?

Well, there are some extraordinary books out there about canning and preserving. Some of the ones that have caught my eye lately?

Well-Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Foods

Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects



This summer, I have become utterly besotted with Mes Confitures: The Jams and Jellies of Christine Ferber, thanks to my friend Viv. Christine Ferber has changed the way I make jams, utterly. I'll never use pectin again.

So there's no reason to be afraid of making your own preserves. Take a class, gather friends, or read a book — they would all be a great start.

* * *

However, if you are entirely new to the process, I'd love to suggest another book:

The Ball Blue Book of Preserving

Some form of this book has been around for more than 100 years. Novices love its clear explanations. People who have been canning for decades have well-thumbed copies with smudges on most of the pages.

And now, you can own it too.

Thanks to the folks at Jarden Home Brands, the folks who make the Ball Brand Fresh Preserving Products, I have a Fresh Preserving Kit to give away. Included is a giant canning pot, along with a rack, wide-mouth funnel, jar lifter, head space/bubbling tool and lid wand. And a copy of The Ball Blue Book of Preserving.

I want you to be part of the Canvolution too.

Just leave a story here to be eligible for the giveaway. When did you preserve food? Have you ever hosted a canning party? Have you made your own pickles? Any mishaps? What are your favorite flavor combinations? Do you remember a grandmother (or maybe a grandfather), aunt, mother canning for the winter? What does all this mean to you? We'd love to hear.

* * *

What are you waiting for? Start canning!


At 5:22 PM, Blogger Angielala said...

My grandmother canned for most of my childhood. I can still smell her basement with it's dirt floor, and still see the jars lined up, capturing every color imaginable, and every flavor of her summer garden. I would love to be able to start canning for myself, and I imagine that every time I open a mason jar of summer fruit, I would be momentarily transported back to grandma's house.

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Oh I remember watching my mother "put up" veggies from our summer garden in upstate NY, but that's all I remember because typically, as with all the other ways in which she is a jill of all trades, I never learned how to do so many of the things that she does apparently effortlessly! Now I'd like to learn and your give away seems like a good place to start! Thanks Shauna!

At 5:27 PM, Blogger AJ said...

I've always made a lot of applesauce with my grandma, but the last couple of years I've taken to flying solo making blackberry jam. Not only are blackberries just the best for making jam and, in my opinion, cobbler, they really do grow wild here in the Pac NW, which is great. I'm particularly excited for this year because I just moved to Seattle (Queen Anne) from Bellingham and the ally behind our apartment is lined with huge blackberry bushes! They aren't quite as secluded as I'd like, but they do seem clean and free from car exhaust. I miss being a kid and picking blackberries from a huge field in Oak Harbor with my grandma. They torn down a huge area of bushes for cookie-cutter houses and another huge patch for Wal-Mart a number of years ago. We felt the loss on a very personal level.

But now I have a very tiny little blackberry patch again! I can't wait!

At 5:50 PM, Blogger Jennywenny said...

My dad used to make a nasty picallilli that kind of put us off pickles for life, but the beautiful pickles at our local restaurants are starting to pique my curiosity, so I dont think it will be long before I try some pickling!

I've got pretty good at making my own chutney to go with a curry, and jam is good as long as I have a reason to stand near the stove and watch it, and dont walk away, I'm eternally grateful to my mother for teaching me all this stuff!

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Jennifer said...

Last weekend, my fiance nudged me over to the side of our house where he'd been trimming back unruly vegetation. He had a surprise for me. I soon discovered that he'd salvaged patches of wild berries that had been hidden by the vines. I think they'll be ripe for plucking within the next few weeks and was wondering what to do with them...This post is lovely and serendipitous.

At 6:03 PM, Anonymous beyond said...

my husband and i went blueberry picking a few days ago. it was his first time. i could hardly believe it and was very happy that i could share that with him. i have never canned food, except for jam, of course (does that count?), and i have vague memories of my mother canning but it's hard for me to remember what.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Engineer Baker said...

Oh wow, how cool! I grew up canning with my mom - making jams, pickles, relishes, and socking fruit away in light syrups. Not to mention the loaves and loaves of zucchini bread, the frozen apple pies, and the skinned tomatoes for tomato sauce in the middle of winter. Sadly, the book she uses is out of print, and she's holding onto it too tightly for me to sneak it away. I would LOVE to have a canning book so I can get started myself!

At 6:23 PM, Blogger PalmerGal said...

My mother canned tomatoes and made jam most of my childhood. When we first moved to Alaska in the early 70's, we planted a HUGE garden and canned many things. I made pickles and relishes and jams. Most from a book called "PUtting Food By." I still make jams and pickles, and a few relishes but not so many veggies (except pickled beets, yum) - freezing is faster and the vegs are more fresh tasting. We have canned salmon, too.

At 6:34 PM, Anonymous Wendy said...

Ask Laurie A-B if you can borrow her copy of Then There Were Five, a beloved book that has a hilarious chapter where two teenage girls attempt to teach themselves to can in the 1940s. It is BRILLIANT.

I'm not canning this year. I'm newly divorced and newly moved from California to the middle of Illinois; so I don't have my canning supplies anymore, or space in my tiny apartment to store canned goods, and it'd be hard to work up enthusiasm to can for one. But because I'm dreading the winter here, after several years of year-round California CSA, I've started freezing produce for winter (and minestrone made with it, too). It misses the drama and beauty of canning, but at least I will have things to eat in February.

At 6:51 PM, Blogger Ginny said...

When I was a little girl, we had a sour cherry tree in our front yard. Every year, my siblings (I'm one of 5) and I would wait eagerly for the cherries to ripen, and then race eagerly for the tree to eat a few. After the first few, puckery mouthfulls (we'd always forget how sour they were!), my Mom would call us inside to change into old clothes--the same ones we used for playing in the sandbox, or general kid messiness--and we would pick as many cherries as we could so that my Dad could make jam. I remember watching him boil the jars and stir the cooking cherries with the "ugly spoon", which my Grandfather made just for jelly making (my Dad learned from my Grandpa, who was a master jelly maker. Homemade jelly is the best housewarming/thank you gift ever!) We'd have enough cherry jelly to last, it seemed, for ages, but eventually it ran out and we had to use the store-bought kind. Right before I started sixth grade, my dad got a new job and we had to move--but not before we picked all of the ripe cherries. Sadly, after I spent what seemed like DAYS pitting this last harvest, they fell victim to the move, and we never got that last batch of jam.
I'm a lot older now, and I live in a big city (Washington, DC) where there's no cherry tree in my front yard. I have had a yearning, though, to learn to make jelly like my Dad (and Grandpa) did: to experiment with fruit combinations, to find a new favorite, and to send my Dad a homemade jar of jelly like the ones he always used to make for us.

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous La Niña said...

"We Pick What We Can
And We Can What We Pick"

I wrote that and pinned it to the refrigerator board years ago.

I've been canning for over a decade. I never thought I'd be "one of those old-fashioned-type" women, and I paid little or no attention to what my Russian grandmother and my mother preserved. Sadly my mom died when I had just turned 24, and my grandmother died two years later.

I was left with memories to preserve, but my mom also left me an old hardback book on canning, pickling and preserving.

All through my twenties, I scoffed at it, but dutifully moved it from apartment to home to home. When I landed square in the middle of my thirties, and in the Seattle area, I too, was smitten by blackberries.

It started with the blackberries, but over the years I have canned and pickled whatever I can grow or find. I've become "known" for my blackberry jam... and each year I have to put up more and more. (at this point I'm doing over 30 pints.)

I'll never get tired of the process, and all I can say is that you need yourself a good food mill. It is essential for some things- like apple sauce. And if you want to make fruit roll, or fruit leather, that mill (and an apple-peeler-corer-slicer) will make your life so much easier!

And these were tools that our grandmothers used. I wish I had my grandmother's tools still, but I had to buy new. But I'll always have the memories. They're well-preserved.

Happy canning!
Come see us- we have berries galore on the driveway.

At 7:12 PM, Blogger Allison the Meep said...

I love your story of blackberry picking. What a beautiful life you have.

At 7:14 PM, Anonymous erin V said...

oh man! As a child we canned everything peaches, tomatoe sauce, salsa, pickeled beets, jellies and so much more. I remeber the basement was a treasure trove of delights in the winter. I would love to can again and have contemplated it so many times this summer. I look for recipes but become overwehlemed with the processing times and need for acidity... but then the recipes appear vague and i am consumed with a fear of botulism
anway this book and kit would be great to get me over this and i would can peaches first then make some pickled beets, spicey green beans and if time allows spaghetti sauce

At 7:22 PM, Blogger MamaJoe said...

I do remember my mother canning. The air in her kitchen warm and wet. Sometimes it smelled like the fruit she found that day at a roadstand. Sometimes like the vinegar bath she gave her cucumbers. She did not pass of her knowledge but I have friends who have willingly instructed me on the hows....I tell them of the why. The knowledge that I picked the fruit, I saw the plant it came from and stood on the earth it grew from. It is safe for me and mine.

Thanks for sharing. I hope your kitchen is warm, wet and filled with hearty laughter.

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I've only ever frozen fruits and vegetables and made freezer jam, being afraid to can, but I'd love to! I remember my mom and my grandma working together to make pickles that we enjoyed all winter.

At 7:51 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

I learned to can from my sister-in-law. She taught me how to can chicken breasts -- and that's my favorite pantry item, and favorite item to teach. So simple!

I can usually be found canning tomatoes -- sauce, diced, or whole -- as well as pizza sauce, ketchup. I have also been known to can applesauce, beans, rhubarb-strawberry jam, strawberry jam, blueberry syrup...

I just started pickles - the sweet cinnamon blend for my crazy (volunteer) cucumber crop... I get to can them tomorrow.

So many yummy things can be canned! Thanks for sharing your canning journey!

At 8:25 PM, Blogger Shelly! said...

All across my Facebook world have been status updates with friends who picked, washed, primed and canned.

Honestly, I've never canned. Ever. Never thought I could...

But I think I can. I think I can. I think I CAN!

(with the book's help of course!)

Thanks for the post, the opportunity, and for stirring up hopes in me and my gluten-free world.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger Kelly Sweazea said...

I just started preserving food last year with our move up to the Pacific NW. First, was apple butter and it spread from there. My love of pickles meant they were next, refrigerator ones, the batch was overly sour! My first asparagus were perfect.

I love learning something new every time. I can't wait to try jam! I might just have to search for a canning party here in Portland!

P.S. Made the new cornbread recipe last night, and I am IN LOVE!

At 8:40 PM, Anonymous bakerina said...

I can't begin to tell you how all this putting up of food gladdens my little heart. When I put up my first batch of damson jam in 1994, I was seen as something of a kook among my Manhattan buddies. (My new neighbors in Queens, of course, didn't blink an eye. They knew a good thing when they saw it.) When my neighborhood got fancier and fancier, and all of my sources of mason jars (namely, hardware stores and cheapish kitchen places) were priced out of the neighborhood, I knew it was time for us to leave.

Even though I have a spiffy new canner, a nice big preserving pot and produce that makes my toes curl, I have yet to put up a single jar of anything. (Stupid law school.) But this year things will be different. For starters, a dear friend of mine is helping me to source damsons, which, up until now, I've been unable to find in California. Oh, you bet there'll be damson jam this year. :)

Your description of blackberry picking fills me with delight. And I share your opinion of the Mes Confitures. Christine Ferber is just so damn good.

At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Chloe said...

I don't have a grandmother or mother who cans, pickles, or even likes to cook. My mother pulled together family dinners for us every night of the week (hurrah!), but it was clear that most of the time she threw together what she knew we would eat and didn't enjoy the act of mixing, chopping, stirring and cooking. My grandmother was even worse, having to be taught by my grandfather how to boil water at the tender age of 24.
This summer I have caught the canning bug and hard. I'll be canning blueberries and blackberries, fresh from the island I live on this upcoming weekend. My sister in law is my home-made guru. She can cook, bake, pickle and can. And if she can't she'll figure out how. We'll be making jam together this weekend and I'm hoping to start on some pickles soon.
My dream would be to can tomatoes in order to preserve their freshness for the cold winter months. I think I'll start slowly, learning the basics of canning and preserving before I go full force into this new world.

What do you think of blueberry and lavender jam? I think it would be a perfect summer surprise once we hit November or December.

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Tiffany said...

When I was younger, my Mom would send me down to the basement to grab a jar of homemade goodness. Sometimes it was peaches or pears for a quick dessert served with vanilla ice cream, sometimes zucchini relish to spread over a hamburger, and sometimes it was crab apple jelly to spread on toast.

I remember thinking my Mom had endless patience with the crab apple jelly. We would pick hundreds of tiny apples from our tree in the front yard and she would spend hours peeling them all by hand, boiling them, adding sugar, and so on, until the bitter apples were turned into something warm and delicious.

My Mom learned from my Nana who made everything from scratch. She had a large garden where she grew all her vegetables (tomatoes to corn) and every summer I loved eating at her food.

I had no idea at the time I was eating gluten free food. My grandfather is a Celiac and my Nana made the yummiest desserts for him. I had no idea, until I was diagnosed.

I was diagnosed 2 years ago and am slowly learning that it's so much better to do everything by hand. You know what's in the ingredients and you aren't going to have yet another gluten attack from who knows where.

My landlord started sharing her homemade jams with me recently, and my favorite is pear jam. Try to find pear jam in a store! I haven't succeeded yet.

With all of these forces behind me and a field of blackberries growing dutifully in a park a few blocks away, I would love to join in on the canvolution and start a new summer tradition of preserving summer flavors to brighten my day during a cold dreary winter. Maybe I can even make some pickles that don't upset my stomach!

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Gwong said...

Lovely post...thanks to the children's book Blueberries for Sal, my 3-year old son loved berry picking with me this summer and he smashed all our strawberries and olallieberries for jam making. We live in San Francisco now, but your post reminded me of my Seattle childhood picking blackberries in our neighborhood alleys. Love the giveaway!

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Childhood: Grandma's dried peaches in her dehydrator, not so good. But, her plum jam, yummy. Farmer's market walks every weekend.
Adolescence: Homemade peach jam! Source unknown. Homemade plum jam!--from my mom's friend.
College, grad school: Houseplants that thrive and die, and survive.
This summer: Planted our very first container garden in the backyard of our first owned house. In love with farmer's markets again. My husband, on a whim: "Let's make jam!" 20 jars, 6 flavors later, I am so happy to keep summer fruit--my second favorite reason for summer, after summer reading-- all year long.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Katha said...

I began canning (making chutney from my crop of balcony tomatoes and chilis) last year. But as I had so little and only got a few jars I mostly felt they were too precious to open up to now - seems I am a little too zealous about "preserving"...

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Linda said...

I grew up eating my mom's "Chili sauce" a mixture of peppers, tomatoes and onions. The peppers and tomatoes came straight from our small Chicago garden.
I have just started canning and honestly really have no idea what I am doing! So far we have tried Molly's pickled carrots and Jamie Oliver's Pepper and Onion chutney. (yumm!)
I'm not sure yet what to try next? Blackberry Jam sounds really good, but I would also like to try just canned tomatoes for making pasta sauce come January.
Thanks for recommending the classes I am going to check them out. The canning I have done so far has turned out great. I am actually looking forward to the Seattle winter!

At 3:07 AM, Anonymous Kristin said...

When I lived in a co-op in college, I spent Sunday nights canning with one of my roommates, putting up produce from our CSA and our own garden in the backyard as well as the plot the house had in the community gardens. We would start late, around 9 p.m., and finish up after midnight, a row of jars cooling on the windowsill in the kitchen. They are some of my best college memories.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger sweetpea said...

Putting food by, that is what I call my canning routine which kicks into high gear in a week or so. In the past I have only had the ability to can tomatoes, peaches, pickles, jams. Last year a colleague of Tina's gifted me a pressure canner, big enough for 16 jars. So, this year I am canning dry beans and corn. There is nothing quite like opening a can of summer tomatoes in January, nothing like throwing an a indian dish together with your own canned beans. We are crazy for canning around here. I spend almost everyday between the end of August through September setting up my winter pantry. Good thing too, I just used my last can of last years tomatoes. Next year I hope to be extracting honey from my bee hives as well. Imagine that, jars of honey in the winter pantry. HOW FUN!

At 4:58 AM, Anonymous june2 said...

What a great idea, the canning party!
My first canning experiment was the year I had a strange lightbulb go off in my head and was convinced that each member of my family would LOVE and be delighted by receiving a jar pickled turnips. For Christmas. Was I off beat that year, ha. I got the most painfully confused blank stares when I told them, oh so joyfully, that they were pickled turnips. Really, really funny, because 1. I was totally sure they would love them (hey, it was a fabulous recipe) and 2. I usually made things they really did love. Too funny...

At 5:23 AM, Blogger sweetea said...

One year I worked on a farm in Maine (happiest year of my life) where part of our duties was to preserve the harvest. That summer I made jams, pickles, jellies, and sauces. One beautiful day we were processing tomatoes in the backyard, juice running down our arms, red splatters on our shirts, and we were feeling alright. We took a photograph it was so beautiful. Someone came in from the kitchen to say that New York City had been attacked. We turned on the radio, stunned, worried, unable to get phone calls through to loved ones. The next day I canned tomato sauce while the mini emergency TV showed the towers falling over and over again. Jars kept slipping from my fingers, breaking on the kitchen floor. Jars broke as I poured the red pulp into their wide mouths. I had to turn the TV off to complete my job. I have never broken a jar while canning before or since September 11, 2001.

At 5:48 AM, Blogger Ownedby2 said...

I began canning in 1997 when I was 32 years old, and my 3 year old son had decided that he "wuvved" salsa...with everything. After reading all the ingredients in his favorite blend, I decided I could make my own, and I could make it better. So, my husband went out, bought 64 tomato plants of all types, and we began our journey that has lasted 12 years. Nothing tastes better than strawberry jam on Christmas Morning GF toast. We put up salsa, jams, fruit, chutneys, and meats. For me, it's a labor of love. I know what we're eating because I grew it, and I know that my children are learning a life skill when we process our fruits, veggies or meat. Best of all, we're making memories. BTW, my salsa recipe is perfected for our family!

At 5:53 AM, Blogger J. said...

oh the pickles, when I was a girl my Nana made pickles and until I was a teeneager those where the only pickles I would eat. She also made homemade rootbeer. Something I have a kit for but I don't know that annything can live up to those tasteories.
Now I can all summer long, can, dry and freeze as much as I possibly can so that we eat local and organic through most of the winter. We have a huge garden and apple trees so most of the food comes from our yard. I miss blackberry bushes though, my kids have no idea wha tthe balckberries are like on the westcoast.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Monique said...

I've had a rather interesting summer. It started when cherries were on sale and I bought a bag or 4 - knowing that there was no way we would/could eat all of them before they went bad so I pitted and froze 3 bags worth (frozen cherries are great with my cereal in the mornings). Then a friend offered to let me pick black-eyed peas out of his 5 acre pea patch. Needless to say I have multiple frozen quart bags of black-eyed peas in the freezer that should last us through next spring (and sore fingers from shelling to bot). After I got the peas put up a neighbor brought over a grocery bag full of fresh peaches from his peach trees in his backyard (seems they couldn't eat all the tree was producing this year) - those too were dealt with and are tucked nicely in the freezer. Lastly (I think) my mom called and said that if I would bring her some of the black-eyed peas she would give me an abundance of squash and okra from her garden - looks like I will be freezing those babies this weekend.

The part I find interesting is that I don't usually freeze/can food and I don't usually have friends/family so willing to share their produce with me so to have it all happen in the last week delights me.

Oh yeah and I also started making my own bread (not gluten free) to try and control preservatives and un-identifiable ingredients that my family is putting in their mouth

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never canned, though this winter my husband and I will be part of a CSA, so we'll have to learn! However, what I know of canning is this: my husband's grandmother, who I never met, was a country woman out of the country, and she canned everything, mostly fresh from her own garden. Even three years after she died, when I was first visiting his family (which has become my own) they had one jar left of her jam that I had for breakfast on biscuits from her recipe. She's been a big influence on my husband's life, and I'd like to experience this little side of her.

At 6:15 AM, Blogger AnnaJ said...

I was a very picky eater as a child. I hated pickles, tomatoes, salad, onions; pretty much any food that was not fried or covered in cheese was not on my menu. I learned to make peanut butter sandwiches at a very young age, and was told to make one whenever I didn’t like what was for dinner. It was not until I was 21 and studying abroad in Scotland that I learned to love vegetables and the taste of fresh food. It started with tomatoes, my long time enemy, and then pickles, and strawberries. Beets were perhaps the biggest revelation for me. The first time I tasted pickled beets on a salad of arugala and feta, I was in heaven. The creaminess of the cheese, the crispness of the greens, and the tanginess of the beets was enough to send me into a swoon. It was then I became comfortable pickles and olives straight out of the jar.

Now, five years later, I am out of college and back in Baltimore, which feels far away from the foods I learned to love in Europe. I see the empty mason jars for sale in the grocery store and fantasize about making apple butter, pickled vegetables, my very own beets, and I remember my first real tomato.

At 6:18 AM, Blogger Green Acres in the City said...

Growing up in the NW I too remember picking berries. Such a fond memory. We also had apple and cherry trees in our yard. My mom would spend hours making apple butter. I loved to help. Now that I am in the Midwest I have a veggie garden but no fruit. I hope to try my hand at canning this year as soon as I get the green tomatoes red. Thanks for wonderful walk down memory lane with the blackberry story!

At 6:21 AM, Blogger kirsten said...

I remember my Pup making pickles in his garage when i was little, but i never learned how. More and more i've been feeling toe pull to learn how to preserve food for my almost-husband and our future family... this would be such a wonderful way to get started! Thanks for the great giveaway Shauna!

At 6:30 AM, Blogger Guy Reynolds said...

For me it has to be blackberry and apple jelly. I can remmeber doing it as a child with my parents, and I now carry on the tradition with my wife and daughter: An afternoon of picking, followed by an evening of cooking, then the leaving of the pulp suspended in muslins under the kitchen chairs over assorted bowls overnight to collect the dark black juice. Then finally the cooking and bottling on the following day. Unfortunately we have lost too many of the blackberry brambles and wild crabapple trees to the developers, but we still have some of our favourite spots where the blackberries are fattest and juciest and the crabapples are the sourest and the brightest red.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous tracey said...

I always make refrigerator pickles every summer. Loads and loads of glass jars lined up in my garage fridge. My kids love them!! This year I also pickled red onions, carrots and jalapenos. So yummy with salads, tuna fish sandwiches and chicken!

At 6:39 AM, Blogger c. simpkins said...

I made jalapeno pickles the other day, and they were so much more intense and hot than I thought they would be. Now they are resting in the crisper drawer in my fridge because they make the whole fridge taste like jalapenos otherwise in their Gladware. I would love to have a canner so that I can contain the smell in glass jars!

Next spring when I am at my home forever and not just for month intervals at a time, I am going to can like crazy all the found fruit in Austin! This is my new goal.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger The New Girl said...

I've canned on my own, jalapeno jelly (inspired by Elise of Simply Recipes.) However the real canning memory which remains with me is this: Every summer for as long as I can remember my mother along with me and my sister would spend an entire weekend in late August making and canning our own tomato sauce. We would cook down at least three bushels of plum tomatoes, with onions, garlic, judicious olive oil and our own garden basil for hours. Afterwards we would put it all through a food mill, and then return it to the pot to cook down further. I would steal spoonful upon spoonful (for testing purposes of course) and then we would jar them up. Those tomatoes would last us the year until the next jarring session. It was such a great memory.

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous Gaby said...

My husband is a country boy, having been raised on a cattle farm. I am a suburban girl, having been raised in subdivisions and malls. Our union is a unique one, but it has taught me so much. We just bought our first house together this year, and my hubby has established a wonderful garden from which we've enjoyed numerous tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, green beans, and cucumbers. We tried to make pickles, but I think we're going to need a little more practice with that! I'm interested in canning (especially since we love to make spaghetti sauce from scratch, and it'd be even better to use our own tomatoes!), but I am fearful of making us sick by doing it incorrectly. Winning this package would help me feel more confident that I wasn't going to serve a big batch of botulism to my family of two! Thanks for the opportunity.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger Just Me said...

We've canned rhubarb and strawberry jam this year from our garden. And last weekend 24 jars of pickles (10 bread and butter, 10 dill spears and 4 dill sandwich slackers). The cumbers are going wild! I usually put up about 10 jars (1/2 pints and pints) of tomato sauces but this year the crop is late, and I'm 9 months pregnant.
I learned from my Dad, who learned from his Mom, who learned from her Mom..... We lost my Dad in July of this year and making the pickles was cathartic. I know when we put them on our sandwiches we will all be reminded of his huge garden and all the things we did together.

At 7:09 AM, Blogger Carly said...

I have always been the frugal one in my also turns out I'm also the celiac in mine as well. I became interested in canning last Christmas when I visited my b/f aunt's house and ventured into her basement to see a world of canning materials and jars full of wonderfulness all around. I told her it was a pure delight and that hopefully she would have time to show me everything one day. Things have gotten a little tough with a cancer diagnosis for her husband that leaves little time to teach canning, but I'm desperate to start with all the wonderful tastes of summer soon disappearing.

I love your blog Shauna and am excited to try your frozen jam :)

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Jenny said...

Last year, due to a great supply of peaches, I had my first canning experience. I tried freezer jam, and failed miserably! It turned out a watery mess, and most upsetting, I wasted an entire bushel of beautiful orchard peaches! Ahhh...such is life and learning:-)
This year I have just been freezing but I would LOVE to *really* learn to can.
Thanks for a great give away!

At 7:22 AM, Blogger MS said...

I grew up with my grandparents in Georgia, and my grandmother spent time canning, drying, and preserving ever spring, summer, and fall. She even had one of those Ronco food dehydrators for the apples she'd dry in the fall and then used to make fried apple pies in the winter. But the canning was much more low-tech, more traditional. She put up quarts of pickled peaches and beets and something spicy called chow-chow. Unfortunately, I didn't appreciate them when I was a kid, pickled peaches being weird, pickled beets being a crazy color, and chow-chow being, well, chow-chow. I have been reading about all this canning and preserving going on across the country and have been remembering my grandmother's creations, wishing I could go back in time to taste and savor everything she made rather than turn my childish nose up at them. I'd love to learn to can both from a practical standpoint of preserving the summer's bounty but also as a way to reconnect with my beloved grandmother and the women who went before her.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Patricia said...

My husband's grandmother was daughter of some of the original homesteaders of the late 1800's South Dakota prairies. Shortly after my husband and I started dating, I went back home with him and was able to meet the neat lady that she was. About a week later, she passed away, initiating a long-neglected task of cleaning out the cellar that was part of the original one room farm house. She had home-canned goods coated in dust, entangled in a mess of spider webs, a few with labels back to '53. Needless to say, the unrecognizable contents were thrown, but we've ended up with a few of the jars, with petrified masking tape baring the hand-written dates and all, ready for me to learn the process. I look forward to starting soon, once i acquire just a few more supplies and some know-how.

At 7:38 AM, Blogger meg said...

I cannot call myself part of the Canvolution. I've been canning since before I can remember! Living on a fruit farm with three sister, a frugal mother, and a witty father who can come up with brilliant dadjokes like "why would I pay someone to put peaches in jar when I already MADE four peach peelers?" We eat the most strawberries in January out of old, plastic cottage cheese containers. They're mushy and sugary and jammy, and they jazz up ice cream sundaes like no other. Most nights late August to October, whoever happens to be around gets sucked into the kitchen and tasked: scalding or peeling peaches, stirring applesauce or fruit chutney on the stove, running the apple slicer or their mouth, or making syrup in the microwave. The result is the world-famous Balsillie gift baskets at Christmas - jams, fruits, Vimy ridge relish, chilli sauce and, of course, apple chips. That and watching Christmas movies eating peaches with a fork out the jar. Sadly though, I'm facing my last summer on the farm before heading out the west coast, giant jam-eating manfriend in tow, and no equipment. Who KNOWS was strange and wonderful things we can pack into jars out there!

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Ivanhoe72 said...

Canning parties are a great idea! We have 10 people in our family, so it's a party everytime we can.

Here's a t-shirt that would make a great party favor:

At 7:52 AM, Blogger Dorian said...

I first started canning as a teenager. I've always loved food and been adventurious about it, so I got together a group of friends and went to a local park and picked gallons and gallons of blackberries one summer! I had no idea how much jam it was going to make (or how long that would take) but we stuck it out for two days, cleaning and cooking and canning and doing it all over again, batch by batch. We used powdered pectin from the store and so much sugar just the memory makes my teeth ache, but it was so much fun! It became a tradition that we repeated every year until I moved away...I have yet to find another blackberry patch so abundant (and away from the roads), but I still can every year. I keep promising myself that one of these days I'll get a proper canning setup, but I never think of it until I have bushels of fruit in the kitchen and it's time to can : )


At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't gotten much into canning or preserving yet because it seems like so much to buy up front, and as a poor graduate student, the funds just aren't there. But I'd love to have something like this so I can start!
My only foray into preserving something was making strawberry freezer jam a few weeks ago when strawberries were at their peak here in WI. Oh YUM! I still can't get over just how good this stuff tastes. I never buy strawberry jam in the store because it never really tastes like strawberries to me. But the stuff I made does :) I can't wait to try it on the fall raspberries, which should be in season here shortly.

At 8:24 AM, Blogger TAO said...

My grandma made the best strawberry jam, and she also put up tomatoes and corn. I had no idea at the time what good fortune we had that she always shared with us. I did know that if there was a jar of Grandma's corn in the basement, dinner was going to be much better than if we had to use canned Green Giant from the pantry. Now that I am old enough to appreciate the changing tapestry of seasons, I have grown interested in canning myself (well, I've really just grown reluctant to let go of summer's peaches so quickly). I've signed up for my first canning class this month, and am hoping to sprinkle some of that summer goodness throughout the long Wisconsin winter.

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous Summer said...

I have a strong memory of standing in kitchen,as a young child,while my mom was canning peaches.

I was recruited to peel the skins off of the peaches after they had been blanched.

The peaches were so juicy and I was getting so sticky, that I finally took desperate measures.

I went and got my gray raincoat with the pink hearts on it and put it on.

There I stood in that intense heat with a plastic rain coat on and juice dripping undeterred down my sleeves.

My mom is moving in with me at the end of August. I am hoping that we can put the pressure canner that she is bringing to good use before I return to university.

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Meg said...

I learned to make jam with my mother and my grandmother and was making my own (with patchy success!) by the age of ten. Last year, inspired by Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I canned enough tomato sauce to last through May. This year I'm going further - more tomato sauce and frozen zucchini, eggplant, broad beans, french beans and corn. In fact, anything the local organic farm has too much of!

Oh and I make spicy pickled onions, have done for years as my homesick expat English husband couldn't find them in Paris!

At 8:37 AM, Blogger Crystal said...

When we moved into our house 3 years ago, we were skeptical about the orange tree that was growing in the shade. It had one orange on it. The following year we were shocked when we had 60 oranges. This inspired an afternoon of making marmalade, which we then gave as gifts. Sadly, this year we only got 10 oranges, but next year looks like it could be a good one, and it would be great to be ready for the bounty!


At 8:45 AM, Anonymous RH said...

The only things I've ever canned are homemade mustard and pickled grapes, and both were kind of a disaster.

I know this sounds silly, but my grandmother makes hands down the best toast you've ever had. I'm not sure how she gets the bread perfectly browned every time, or what brand of butter she uses, but I'm sure one of her secrets is a healthy slathering of homemade jam. I'll always remember the smell of toast and tea (typical Brits) in their house as one of my favorite scents.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Lora said...

My maternal grandmother canned fruits in particular and was a whiz at making jellies (without store-bought pectin). My mother made dill pickles, canned tomatos, salsa, corn, green beans, and one memorable year, salmon (that one I thought was gross). I can jams and jellies. The taste of homemade crabapple jelly always makes me think of Grandma and is always light years better tasting than store-bought!

At 9:37 AM, Blogger FridaWrites said...

It sounds like heaven up there--my husband's had some phone interviews for jobs in the area.

I need to buy more berries to freeze!

At 9:45 AM, Blogger K. Horn said...

I remember sitting around the kitchen table with my little brother "peeling" grapes for my mom's grape jelly. Or picking all the apples from our trees for my Oma's applesauce. My favorite jam growing up was my mother's plum jam.
Just in the last couple of years I've started as well. I love opening up a jar of homemade jam, and tasting the adventure of picking it. Now that I have a nine-year old at home I'd like to start getting her involved in these joys as well.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger Just the Right Size said...

OMG! THANK. YOU. For posting this! This was a breath of fresh air after being turned down for a Master Preserver Certification course in my state (Florida) through the cooperative extension office.

Nobody cans here! I'm gonna start a class doggonitt!

Also, check out my post on Asian Plum sauce. I made it last week and it is delish!

Love you Shauna!

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

If you want a REALLY good book that gives you techniques for canning and preserving all sorts of fruits and veggies (even dehydrating), check out Stocking Up. The Jarden book is good, but this one gives step by step directions for all sorts of projects (even meat)...
I have both books, but I refer to Stocking Up most often

At 10:15 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Two summers ago my husband and I got pretty zealous about canning. Although it may be that I got extremely zealous about it and he, out of a deep love for me, got on board. Neither one of us had ever canned anything before and we checked out a bunch of books from the library (we didn't have the one you are giving away and maybe that would have made the difference), borrowed canning gear from friends, and went to the market and bought flats of yummy local, organic vegetables. Our tomatoes turned out alright, but the pickles...everything we pickled was terrible. We were out of the country last summer, so canning wasn't an option, but this summer we are here! I want to give it a go again and maybe this kit will be just what I need to talk my hub into giving it another try.

I hope this is something that I can get the hang of so that our little baby boy that is brewing inside of me as I write this can grow up with this being something that is normal and not a novelty.

At 10:22 AM, Anonymous Trista said...

My parents always had a very large garden when I was growing up. One year, my dad planted a ton of beans which meant that my mom canned a ton of beans. Every night for dinner, that year, we had green beans and to this day, I can't stand canned green beans. I've been trying some of Ferber's recipes, but I always cut down on the sugar which generally means I end up with a runny preserve. Sigh.

At 10:25 AM, Anonymous marcella said...

The last two summers my son and I have made jam together. We have a friend who is renting a house on an apricot orchard and invited us to come pick. We came home with huge boxes of ripe wonderful apricots. This years batch was apricot raspberry made from those apricots and berries we'd picked a few weeks before in Watsonville. Two jars are now at the fair. Wonder how we did?

At 10:48 AM, Blogger A Finley said...

Shauna, you inspire me with every blog post! As a newly diagnosed celiac, I want to start canning to protect myself from getting sick. But, I no longer have the mother or grandmother around to teach me. I will be looking at the library for the book, and the second hand stores for canning supplies, and the internet for more helpful hints. I'm sure I can do this! I know I CAN! And I will let you know how it all turns out... I have wonderful memories of my grandmother's "put up" peaches on Christmas with the cinnamon sitck and cloves in each jar. And I have access to loads of blackberries too. The Pacific NW has the best berries!

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My memories of preserving are all of my mom. She used to always make strawberry jam each summer and chutney in the fall. I never realised how spoiled I was to be able to just reach in the pantry for another jar of jam instead of using the store-bought kinds many of my friends had growing up. Now that I'm on the other side of the country from my family and can't just pop home to steal a jar of chutney, I'm starting to think of making some of these things for myself. Even if they will never be as good as mom's.

I haven't canned or preserved anything myself... yet. This summer I extended my small balcony garden to the yard and have an actual plot of veggies growing. It's too late to preserve the beans, the peppers didn't take, and the few pea pods never made it into the house (what a great snack as you're walking past the garden!). But my tomatoes are just starting to turn red. I can't wait to save some of them for the winter. I just need to learn how first. Please enter me into the draw.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Laura Wells said...

I've never canned anything. My mother didn't can, and surprisingly my grandmother is trying to forget personal canning. I have a 5-year-old with celiac and a dairy sensitivity. I have a tiny garden, as big as the sun and my small city lot allow and I want to can--to know the whole food production process from beginning to end. And I live in Michigan, almost a foreign country in its economic misery of the last decade. In the grayness of February we need some uplifting tastes. Plus the blueberries are still ripe for the picking here. It's time to gather supplies.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Runaground said...

I remember the sounds and smells of canning and preserving every summer in southern Illinois. My grandma would "recruit" my little brother and I and have us gather and strip as much sweet corn, peas, beans and fruit as we could. We'd listen to the whistle of the pressure cooker and enjoy dipping our fingers in the (too hot! ouch!) goo of peaches and cherries and strawberries.

Now THOSE were the days!

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Diana said...

I first canned a couple years ago when I was craving apple butter like I had as a kid. I made a batch in my crockpot and it was so good I decided to can it and give it away for Christmas gifts. I ended up making about 4 crockpots worth that December. This year we're participating in our first CSA and I've decided to can and pickle a ton! On August 29th I'll be having a canning party to teach some people who have never canned before.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger pixelimpress said...

my husband and i moved here 2 years ago from georgia, the peach state. now, not to slam georgia, but it's truly got nothing on the peaches from washington state. they are incredible! last year i became obsessed, eating 2-3 peaches a day. my loud "nooooo" scream scared our peach-selling gal at the local farmers market the day she told me peach season was over. i was addicted what would i do? can, of course. but i've never done it. i want to preserve that peachy goodness this season. this would soooo help me out!! and i'd of course share the love with neighbors and family... well, just not too much love (there is a limit, ya know) so that i had enough canned to last me until next peach season. pam

At 12:01 PM, Blogger nrp said...

At our CSA pick-up last week, my daughter (8yo) picked out a tiny cucumber and said: "Ooo! Now we can make a pickle!" Which reminded me of the amazing pickles my grandmother made every summer and was just the push I needed to decide to start gathering some canning supplies (no luck at local thrift stores, so far).

Our backyard blackberries are just now ripe; our hands, too, are scratched.

At 1:12 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

I am new to the canning world, but love the new adventure. Not only are we doing a family canning "party" this year, but all of the things we can are coming straight from our family/community garden. With 9 siblings, it does become more of a community. We made dill pickles last week along with some dilly spicy beans. The tomato plants are weighted down with heavy green tomatoes, I cannot wait for all the possibilities. Loved your post this time... we spend many early hours at our cottage picking blueberries each year, a little less scratchy, but a wonderful for us! The canning kit sounds wonderful for us as mom is the one with all the canning gear at this point. Thanks!

At 1:37 PM, Blogger kfrankly said...

I grew up helping my grandma in the gardens, I enjoyed eating the strawberries the best, but I would do the weeding when she asked. I also remember spending lots of time in the kitchen, she would can everything. I loved her pickles the best. I have tried to make some refrigerator pickles, but they are just not the same. I would love to learn how to can just like she did all those summers ago!

At 3:05 PM, Blogger Wendyrful said...

I'm sure I'm too late to win the PRIZE, but I loved your post about canning!

I remember my mother canning back when I was a child. I remember jars and jars of colorful canned fruit and vegies from her garden back on the farm.

Now that I've been a mother for a number of years (going on 19), and recently two of my children have become lactose and gluten sensitive or allergic, I am trying to learn how to make new foods. Canning seems a good choice. I made my first ever strawberry freezer jam last summer. we gobbled it up well before the fall/winter. This summer has been crazy, and I missed out on strawberries (in bulk) for making jam's. I was very sad! your post made me think of all the yummy things you can make. I need to learn these skills! (p.s. I knew someone once who canned using her oven (instead of a water bath). Does anyone know about this canning method???

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Tori said...

My Dad put food up when I was a kid. Shortly after we moved to the ranch we owned when I was younger he removed a huge patch of grass at the front of our property, bought a rototiller and got to work. There was already a huge (24x50) greenhouse near the spot and that first year we had so much produce the neighbors hid when they saw us coming. After that, he taught himself to can.

He got so good at it that he closed in our back porch and turned it into a mega-pantry. Even after we left there he continued to preserve food. He gave it to friends that had less than we did (not a lot) and he taught me a lot about how important it is to feed people. There's a look someone gets when you hand them a shining quart jar full of tomato sauce or peaches.

We left the ranch and the garden behind when I was 15 but it didn't stop him. He would drive from Central Oregon to the valley multiple times over the course of the summer to pick fruit and then put it up in jars.

My Dad passed away last December. When I packed up his house I found the pantry full of what he'd canned the previous year. He was sick through the summer and missed the fruit picking season. Sometime in February I finally opened a jar of nectarines he'd canned. I'll confess I ate the entire jar standing in the kitchen, crying.

A few days later I broke ground on my own garden. I didn't plant anything I could can but I plan to next year. I want to do the same thing he did. Feed myself and others with the food I've grown or picked all through the year.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger RecipeGirl said...

Lucky you- finding all of those blackberries around where you live?? So jealous. When I was little, my dad lived in Northern CA where we could find huckleberries growing wild. Wish we had baked with them.

I have this canning book that you featured... should check it out and make some fig jam (have loads of figs!)

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

My grandma taught my dad how to can, and I remember making salsa every summer. The summer right before I got married, my dad and I spent one Saturday in the kitchen, chopping the fresh veggies we'd picked from our garden, and turning them into different salsa. Experimenting. Adding beans. Corn. More heat. And then they were done, the rows of cans, some still steaming from the heat.
A couple months and one wedding later, I opened the door to my new apartment one morning, and there was a box on the doorstep. It contained several carefully wrapped jars of salsa, with little typed up labels that read: "Made by Steph and Dad"

I've never done any canning on my own, but I would love to have the knowledge and tools to do so someday.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger mc said...

I've done tons of refrigerator pickles, and plenty of frozen veggies; last year my sister and I bought and processed 40 lbs of plum tomatoes. We didn't use them for anything fancy, but it was still WONDERFUL to have fresh tomato sauce in the middle of the Maine winter! I'd love to try "real" canning...

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Nina said...

I want to learn how to can SOOOO bad! It is an art form that no one seems to know how to do! Well, that or the people who do know don't want to teach others. I would love, more than anything, to be able to preserve my homegrown Jersey fresh tomatoes for sauces and later this winter. Canned veggies and fruits are so depressing, not to mention laden with all kinds of icky things! Thanks for this post!

At 6:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My 93 year old uncle who has canned every year for as long as I can remember is losing his grip! Not mentally but due to carpal tunnel complications he cannot actually grip the canning tools or tighten jars. I've also noticed him struggling with giving up some of his life's simple joys and this is tough to watch.

I've always wanted to can but have been intimidated by the process and don't have any of the tools myself. SO... Tuesday I shopped for the Ball jars, lids and even went to a local farmer for fresh peaches to surprise my uncle. I knew he had the pressure cooker and jar handler at his house but planned to borrow these items and get him to come next door to my house! He hemmed and hawed at the prospect of walking to my house when we should be using his. He hesitated to tell me where the pressure cooker was in case it was too heavy for me. He doubted I had the room for the process and that we'd have to move the jars too much... (get the picture). I found the pressure cooker but to our dismay it had been sitting in a wet box in his basement and needed some special scrubbing. So I scrubbed and he directed. I brought the tools to my house with him in tow.

The kitchen was all set up and we began the process. I think he was surprised but wouldn't say anything. He directed me to do this and that. I asked questions. And eventually the directing became more of an exchange and softened into a good time listening to Gershwin and remembering old times and the good desserts from years past canning projects. We canned 9 quarts of peach halves and two of peach quarters. The first six went into the readied pressure cooker - we put the lid on and to his complete dismay and mine... the cooker would not make a seal and create the steam or pressure necessary to process the peaches. This was very disappointing but we changed course and created a water bath instead. Thankfully I'd done some reading ahead of time and knew we had an alternative. In the end, we both learned something from each other and this winter we are already planning a spice cake with vanilla ice-cream and our summer peaches!

There is more I can write about my falling in love with this process and wanting to take everything that our garden produces and put it into a jar to save it for the cold gloomy winter. Oh the spices and flavors I look forward to creating!

But the thing that I'd share about this experience with my bachelor uncle is my new found appreciation for all the times he drove to the farmer to pick up peaches or picked his quince or apples off his trees; washed and blanched and peeled and cut and jarred and waited for the pressure cooker to be just right... so that sometime later, usually at Thanksgiving or Christmas, he could present us with a great dessert filled with fruits of his solitary labor. Canning is an act of love I never really thought about until I had a little taste of one of the simple joys of his life.

At 6:47 PM, Anonymous Erin said...

Ask your Mormon neighbors when they're going to have another class on canning. The LDS Church has a rich culture of food storage, of which canning is a main event. If the Mormon folks that you know don't know how to bottle food, then someone in their congregation does and will be happy to share that knowledge with you. Free of charge (no baptism required.) ;)

At 8:38 PM, Blogger lisa said...

My first attempts at canning came with my first house. In Northern California, wild plums are almost a nuisance - but I thought I'd hit the jackpot with my very own fruit trees. My tenant and I made jam while our dogs ate themselves sick eating the plums on the ground. Our jam never set up - after 9 years, I never did get those plums to set - but oh was it good over ice cream - so cinnamon plum sauce was born and we never told anyone it wasn't supposed to be that way! This year I tried some new ideas - escabeche - which turned out delicious and two days ago - a pear marmalade with basil and lime. I can't wait to try new flavors and remind myself of summer next January!

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Jessmeca said...

Ok... Ill put my hand up and admit it.....






I know i should, i just havent had the time, or the space... and honestly, its too damn hot in Australia to make your own Jam... However, now im in Canada, i would love to try it!

At 11:24 PM, Blogger Cher said...

Oooh! Ooooh! I love this. My mom used to can (and make delicious smelling concord grape wine) and my memories of so much flavor wrapped in taut, tart grape skins and smooshy sweet innards and buckets of seeds to spit into your palm as you keep shoving these amazing little fruits into your mouth *are* what I think of when I think of summer, and food, and home.
These days, I am the Mama and I make freezer jams (safer around the v. busy toddler), but am longing to do more so that my kids have similar memories.

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Janice said...

Great post! My favorite memory of canning was when my now grown daughter, was 3 and I was newly divorced and living on 8 acres in an old farmhouse in Michigan. She and I would go out every other day and pick little wild strawberries (similar to alpine strawberries) that were really sweet and growing all over the place on our property. I would rinse them off and freeze them on a tray in the freezer and then bag them up. When we had enough for a batch of jam I would make up strawberry jam. When we moved and all the strawberry jam that I had made was gone she refused to eat store bought jam for the longest time because I had not made it. I sure do miss that time with her. Thanks for letting me relive some great memories.


At 9:07 AM, Blogger Adrienne said...

I would LOVE to win this preserving kit; I've been dabbling in refrigerator pickles for the last year, but I'm a little afraid to try jams. Hopefully I'll get up the gumption by the time the raspberries come back in the fall :)

At 9:54 AM, Blogger Sue-Ann said...

Even here in urban Manchester there are enough cherry plums, greengages, and blackberries to make jam. I made my first batch this summer (along with elderflower cordial) and am looking forward to working out what to do with the elderberries and the rosehip later in the early autumn.

At 10:39 AM, Blogger Alyssa said...

I have a canning set, but I'd love to have one to give away as a gift to my friend who wants one and is my partner in food crime!

At 10:43 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

We canned in my family, and by that I mean that my mom conscripted me into her kitchen work force. I never understood why she would wait until the absolutely hottest days of the summer to stand over boiling pots of fruit and steaming water. But can we did, and I now realize what a treasure of knowledge I inherited.

There was an entire wall of glistening glass jars in the basement in every color of the rainbow, labeled in simple script quietly declaiming the pride and artistry that went into "Dilled Pickles 08/72."

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

My friend actually got me into canning last year and we did indeed hold a canning party, making apple butter and various jams and jellies for giving away for gifts. Since then I've stuck to jam and pickles but I'm thinking about putting up some produce this year. Plus, another canning party is on the horizon to make wedding favors for the same friend that got me into canning!

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous Holly said...

I want to start...but I am scared. The only person I know who cans is my grandmother who lives an ocean away and a lifetime apart...

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Alison Sanborn said...

I have never canned, but feel a deep, primitive desire to do so. Something about doing, making, creating with my own hands, rather than buying an unsatisfactory version in a store makes my heart soar. I am dying to learn how to can, and to be able to provide for my friends and family through my learning! Food for the belly and the soul

At 4:30 PM, Blogger kate said...

Your story of picking blackberries reminded me of setting out in the woods around the rural east Texas town where my mom grew up, and picking dewberries (kind of a wily cross between a blackberry and a raspberry), and yes, we canned those (jammed them then canned them, that is). That was my first memory of canning things. We also did spiced peaches (oh YUM!) once the Fredericksburg peaches were ready. And plenty of apple butter, because it was my favorite.

Several years ago, I set out to do my first adult preserving project when I lived in a student co-op and we had a bounty of fresh but edging on overripe peaches given to us by our local co-op grocery. I made those into peach preserves and did a breakfast-for-dinner meal, including some most excellent GF biscuits (one of my housemates was wheat-allergic) on which to spread the beautiful preserves. Uggggh! I'm drooling thinking of it now!
At the co-op, we had the luxury of a giant sanitizer, which made the canning process easy-peasy, and now, I think of the hassle and I don't often want to go through the process.

BUT, just this month, I put the scraps from several pounds of cherries that I pitted to be frozen in with some sugar and a little lemon and boiled up a delicious simple cherry jam. I didn't make enough that I would have needed to preserve it for much later, so I didn't have to go through the whole shebang, but now, I'm thinking that if I had a few helpers and made a party of it, that I SHOULD make more of that cherry jam, because it was DELICIOUS!

At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Rachel said...

I have canned before although not this year. Due to house issues I don't have my regular garden although I do have several volunteer tomatoes. In the past I have made HOT dilly bean pickles. Ever year I make several batches of apple butter. I only have a couple jars left - can't wait for this years.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger annie said...

hello. i have just begun preserving. today, i picked raspberries, gathered rhubarb, and combined them into jam with local honey and orange zest. (the goal here is refined sugar free preserves and a less sweet product all in all.) i am so excited! i have also been reading mes confitures, which is amazing. i have lots of plans for jams, etc for the next few months. i have been freezing the fresh picked fruit for a time when i'm less busy! hopefully next weekend will have some more time for preserving.
thanks for the great blog.

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I have made freezer jams and they are wonderful, but this summer's bounty of fresh tomatoes and other produce have moved me into another level of learning. I would love to know how to "put up" food, and Wendy thanks for reminding me of the Enright book when Mona and Randy can while Cuffy is away. Pink

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous said...

I've never canned. My mom always did, but somehow I never absorbed it into my own "modern" life. Now that I've been sick from unresolved cancer treatment side affects for 6 years and on disability (not to mention going GF and 100% organic for over a year now), I could really benefit from learning these "old" traditions; for the money savings, for the health benefit and, really, for the spiritual reconnection to my food even more than I have this past year and a half already. Maybe I'll work through my chronic fatigue and learn to do this, especially when the bountiful free raspberries are available at my local organic farm this September.


At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Ilene said...

The NW is wonderful, isn't it? A friend of mine said she thinks blackberries taste like summer. I tend to agree.

I have to add my cheer to Mes Confitures. Her Fig with Vanilla recipe motivated me to try making fig jam, even after I swore I would never do it again. How could any fig jam be as good a fresh fig?! (Not any I had tried. Walnuts? Cinnamon? No.) Hers is the only fig jam I'll ever make again. Truly.

Today I bought tiny, seckel-sized pears at our local farmers' market . . . some rare, european heirloom variety, the farmer told me. I'm game, I thought . . . and they're pink inside. Pink! I wish I could remember the variety and I hope he's there next week. I bought just enough to can a few in syrup so I can marvel at their cuteness come winter -- right before we dig in. Oh, and they taste good, too. (Not all of them are destined for a jar.)

I've been reading your blog for well over a year, but I'm a bit comment shy. I guess this topic was enough to finally bring me out! Thank you.

(I don't need canning gear . . . I just couldn't resist the topic.)

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Kim - Affairs of Living said...

My grandmother used to can, and I remember going down to the root cellar in her house to grab cans of preserved vegetables and jams when I was young. I was always so fascinated by it, but my parents didn't can, and grandma stopped doing it by the time I was old enough to learn how. Then in college, I worked on an organic, off the grid farm one summer. I lived with the farmowners, and saw how they made use of their produce constantly - canning was a huge part of their survival. They canned everything, including delicious concentrated black currant juice that they made in their pressure cooker. Thick, dark, and powerfully sweet and tart all at once, it was the perfect morning elixir with hot water, or made for an awesome addition to oatmeal. I plan to can this Fall for the first time, and carry on the tradition myself. While I make pickles and lacto-ferment vegetables and sauerkrauts regularly, I have not yet processed them for longer storage. I have a fridge full of jars of pickled vegetables and sauerkraut! I'm excited to learn about canning, and hope to complete my first canning next weekend - I'll be making pickled Whitney crab apples!

THanks for all the info in your post - inspiring and informative, as always.

At 5:08 AM, Blogger Janel said...

My very favorite canning recipe is my Mom's green tomato relish. It's the most amazing condiment on hot dogs, hamburgers, or laced through tuna salad!

She would use the green tomatoes that didn't ripen at the end of each summer harvest of my dad's homegrown tomatoes from the back yard. They were out of this world!

I'll have to get the recipe and find some to start canning myself.

At 6:48 AM, Blogger KandT said...

Hi there -
While we were on vacation in Eastern Canada last week, I was reminded of the differences between the seasons and the preserving preferences of the north and south. I grew up in South Georgia and my Mom would always make Jelly - Mayhaw Jelly was the favorite. In the north, Kim's mom usually makes Jam. Both are excellent - just the typical preferences (jam vs. jelly) of the areas where they live. I also was reminded of the mm mm good taste of pickled beets! Kim's parents always pickle beets that they grow in their garden. It's always excellent in summer or winter.

We have frozen blueberries and I've cooked down tomatoes for tomato sauce in the winter, but that is as far as i've gotten to canning. I'd LOVE to learn more!

:) tracy

At 7:32 AM, Blogger reva said...

my mom canned, froze, dried and preserved a ton of produce every summer. she made 3 kinds of jam, canned tomatoes, corn, apricots, peaches, cherries and pears, made 3 kinds of pickles, sometimes canned chicken and beef. then there was the freezing and drying. i don't know how she did it with 3 kids. my sister and i were recruited to help 'process'.

following in her footsteps, i've started making my own jam and freezing berries for a taste of summer mid winter. this year, i think i shall attempt pickles, probably just one kind.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Lauren said...

My mother and Aunt for a few years have been making Salsa and canning that along with canned tomato's. I am really getting into pickling as some of my favorite foods right now all have that tang and sweet and sour taste to it, Pickles, pickled beets, and 3 bean salad. I have only so far made pickled beets last weekend. It was actually very easy. I even loved peeling the cooked beets using rubber gloves. I plan to make some jam with fresh blueberries and even though I already have frozen strawberries in the 2 freezer I plan to make some strawberry jam to. I like to grate and freeze my zucchini so I can make zucchini bread. I just love having summer fruit on a cold winter day.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Aubrey said...

Both my grandmothers and my mother have always canned. When my dad's mom had to move a nursing home, we slowly cleaned out all her cabinets, trying to make some order in her house. She had cabinets FULL of old jars. She always made jams, and had this huge garden and would put up tomatoes and green beans. My mom always made jam, and I've definitely caught the jam-making bug. My favorite so far is vanilla peach, followed closely by pear butter.

At 3:41 PM, Blogger loshakova said...

I really enjoy your column, and read it regularly. This was such a nice post. It brought back memories of the first year I lived in Seattle (I'm on the other coast now). I was living in Beacon Hill, and one day on a walk I discovered a forest of blackberry vines, all drooping with fruit, behind the VA hospital. A friend and I filled up all the grocery bags we could carry and made mountains of the best blackberry jam ever. Since then I have made fresh peach chutney with bounty from a neighbor's tree; bread and butter pickles; plain and spicy dill pickles; and -- new for this summer -- tomatillo salsa with fresh tomatillos from the organic farm co-op. My mother used to make jam every summer -- she would buy a whole flat of fruit from a roadside farm stand and then go into production in our kitchen. Except for the blackberry jam extravaganza, I do my own canning in small batches.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Gretchen said...

My aunt makes these wonderful jams and pickles, but she is so very afraid of botulism that she talks of nothing else while you are eating her delicious canned food and she watches you intently for imminent death while you are eating. (to my knowledge no one has ever even felt a twinge of illness from her food.)

I have to say that the "death watch" takes some of the joy out of the eating!! I decided that making freezer jam and preserving things in our freezer would solve the "botulism" problem and am love with a peach rosemary -pectin free jam that I made last summer. So far this summer we've eaten half of the jars of berry jam that were supposed to be for the year!

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I don't remember my mom canning, although she swears she did, My grandma certainly did, and my Bestfriends mom in high school canned tons. I hadn't considered it until this year, so far I've made strawberry jam with locally grown strawberries. I'm dieing to make pickles but the cucumbers aren't quite in season here. But I can't wait!

At 5:21 PM, Blogger Anna said...

I have been canning applesauce for the past few years and some jams and a simple but delightful salsa. We have a small pantry in our apartment and I love being able to open the door and see jars of food for whenever we need or want something to eat. It is wealth beyond measure and means so much to have good food made by hand. I would really love to have a canning party -- might not be the same weekend, but I hope to organize something soon, or just do some more canning myself. I guess because the canning jars usually come in batches of 12, I tend to keep six and give away six. Its hard to part with the preserved, but its good to share the joy.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Karen W said...

My Mom canned vegetables from our garden and my Grandmother also canned fruits and vegetables.

I will never forget going to my Grandmother's basement during our family Christmas party and bringing up large, heavy (to my young self) glass jars of homemade pickles, canned beans and blueberry jam. I couldn't tell you a single present my grandparents bought me for Christmas when I was a child but I can tell you lots about the tastes, smells and feeling we all got eating such a feast in the middle of a freezing, icy cold winter!!

Thanks for letting me share.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Fiacha said...

My Granny Annie( my great grandmother's best friend) always has a jar of her homemade pepper jelly to give me. For as long as I can remember we've had a jar of her pepper jelly in the pantry. It's something I will always associate with my Granny Annie.

At 8:09 AM, Blogger Junebug said...

I've just started canning this summer inspired by over 10 lbs. of strawberries I picked a couple months ago. Starting with strawberry jam, I have made strawberry/raspberry/rhubarb, black currant jelly, currant/blueberry, blueberry marmalade, apricot jam and apricot chutney. What fun it has been!

At 8:52 AM, Blogger Kristina Strain said...

I got started with canning just last summer, as a way to fill my unemployed time. Suffice to say, it worked. I started in early September, and by the time the first frost hit our area, I shelved over 200 jars. This year, I'm pacing myself.

I'm very eager for the day when I can grow food to can in our garden-- for now, the limitations of a small city lot necessitate the purchase of the produce, at a local farm market with rock-bottom prices. I feel so proud pushing my laden cart towards the check-out, knowing I'm among the resourceful and hard-working folks who can.

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Nazila Merati said...

I have a love hate relationship with Christine Ferber. I love her ideas, I love some of her combinations, I do not like the loose translations and lack detailed time in her procedures. Yes, I am a scientist. This vezes me.

However, this weekend I made fig preserves with vanilla beans from the book. They were mighty tasty.

Her quince recipes are really nice as well.

Good luck with your canning. I have done it forever and will continue even on the hottest of days.

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Alta said...

I once canned jalapenos, 7-8 years ago. They were not so delicious. But now, hopefully, with my much-improved knowledge of cooking, my canning will be much better! This weekend I made and canned pear jam, and fresh, crunchy, cucumber pickles. Trouble with those pickles is waiting for them to "pickle"! I keep opening the fridge hoping to eat one! Now that I feel I am starting to get the hang of it, maybe I need to get a pressure cooker so I can "put up" anything I please!

At 12:54 PM, Anonymous awolanna said...

I've never canned, and none of the women in my family do either. But I'd love to learn.

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Donna said...

My earliest memories are my mum and I having our own canning party. All the extra produce and fruit from the garden and orchard was either frozen,canned, pickled, or made into jams and jellies. When I moved into my own home, it seemed natural to continue with this thrifty preservation of food. Eventually, I took over for the family altogether. When I lived in a fishing village, the American tuna fleet was impounded in our harbor with full holds. I called my mum to buy every box of fish jars she could find and get over to the village as soon as possible. We spent the next couple of days canning tuna. The house smelled terrible but it was the best canned tuna I've ever eaten. Pickled beets, chili sauce, chutneys, marmalades...putting food into jars is my way of peserving memories of times with my mum.

At 5:15 PM, Blogger KJ said...

I have canned through most of my childhood for fair and home use, but have gotten out of the habbit not that I no longer have a garden. Now that my childres are involved in the kitchenm though, I think it is time to restart!

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

I just posted about the first batch of preserves I made this summer! Apple butter from trees on the farm, totally delicious and a super fun way to spend saturday afternoon.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

When I was little, my Mom would make cherry pickles...I'd love to have them pickle the cucumbers with leaves from a cherry tree. It's a Wisconsin thing, I guess! I'd love to try it again!!

At 7:27 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Oh, how timely! I just was at my favorite produce market and saw pickling cucumbers and flowering dill, and said to myself, "I'm going to figure out how to make pickles when I get home." I've dabbled in preserving without the correct tools - let me just say, trying to take hot jars out of a pot of boiling water with just normal kitchen tongs is not fun! My grandmother and mother-in-law are avid canners and I would love to connect with them through learning this skill. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Shauna!

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Kristina said...

I've been canning for the last few years and am just now getting into fermented pickles and such. But my favorite project this summer has been our elderberry jelly. I have never seen elderberries for sale at our farmer's market and so I scooped them up when I did. It looked like an elderberry massacre had happened in our kitchen by the time we were through but my husband and I had the best time cracking Monty Python jokes the entire time.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Melanie Tyler Kanz said...

This summer I taught my daughter's Girl Scout Troop how to can raspberry jam. We picked berries at a Duvall farm and canned them at our home. The girls had a ball, learned something new and went home with some yummy jam to share with their families.

At 3:43 AM, Blogger CatherineMarie said...

I made wonderful grape jam a few years ago when we rented a house that had a grapevine in the back yard... I still miss that house! My family loved that jam.

At 6:22 AM, Blogger Chris Worthy said...

I have been canning for years now, but not during the summers of wee little hands in the kitchen. Tomatoes are super easy to water bath can and the flavor is unmatched by anything you can buy in a grocery store. Other favorites? Pickled sweet banana peppers, green tomato relish and lots of jam -- strawberry and peach, and well as apple butter and muscadine jelly. So, so good.

At 11:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started canning earlywith my grandparents due to their enormous garden. The summer before I got married my soon to be husband was fascinated and couldn't stop asking "What else can we make?" Through 22 years we have had some memorable recipes and those that bear NOT repeating. No one who knows us will EVER forget the year of the "Powerful Pickles" (like a little pickle with your garlic, ma'am?!!!) or the year of the "More than Tipsy" Brandied Peaches. Preserving, canning or putting food by are all ways I stayed connected to the warm memories of the past and make new memories for my family and friends. It also allows us to know exactly the origin, content and recipe of what we consume. I will take a jar of strawberry rhubarb jam or peaches on a frozen February day and be transported back to a kitchen with paisley wallpaper, always something cooking, laughter and the two good people who loved me "just because". A little time travel in a canning jar is a rare
treat indeed. Thanks Shauna!Bramble

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Michael Paul said...

My mother canned for most of my childhood. We had a garden full of vegetables every summer, most notably, at least 40 tomato plants. I remember the canning pots hanging in the cellar all winter, collecting dust; we knew it was time to can when the pots came down to be washed. For my mom, canning was a neccessity, so we would have food to last us through the winter. I don't think it was something that she liked doing much; and she always did it by herself, so my sisters and I don't know how to can. Recently, I've been learning through blogs and books, and am just about to take on my first canning project: watermelon rind pickles, and old family recipe passed on to me from my husband's aunt. -Megan

At 12:50 PM, Anonymous Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

I started canning a couple of years ago. My mother and her sisters started around the same time, and we all trade our canned goods as Christmas gifts, which means we end up with a lovely variety.

There's just something about preserving food--knowing exactly what's in it, knowing it's been made with care, knowing even if you're short in other ways, you'll be okay on food.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous bb said...

My Aunt and cousin were canning this weekend in New Hampshire when I went up to visit them. I was "allowed" to help her chop, cut, stir and clean. I wished that I had a mom when I was young who could have taught me to make all those lovely foods in jars. We placed them in the old windows to take photos and the jars looked like they had jewels in them. Am I too late to get in on the give-away? I'd love to have my very own set-up so I could do the same thing in my own home.
Thanks for your consideration.

At 12:35 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

I tried my hand at canning last year for the first time. I put up jars and jars of tomato sauce & salsa. The raspberry bushes at the new house gave us a frezzer full. when things slow down around here and its not so hot I'll work on some raspberry/ruhbarb jam.
Its so rewarding eating something you put your soul into in the middle of a cold hard winter.

At 8:17 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

Morning Edition just did a story on blackberry foragers in Seattle:

I am not GF but my new roommate, who will be moving in in ten days, is. I've been collecting recipes from your site to cook with her.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Kimberly said...

I didn't know a single person that canned. Maybe it's because I grew up in Phoenix in the 70's. It just wasn't done. I started last year and now I can't stop! I'm using a borrowed canner spo one of my own would be nice! I've already donea bushel and a half off pickles, plus jars of fresh pickles, jams, squash pickles, pickled onions and more.
I was the happy recipient of over 30 boxes of canning jars last week. A friend's mom hadn't used them for years and wanted them to go to a good home. What an amazing gift!!! I'm filling them as fast as I can can!

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Nowheymama said...

I have been making freezer jams, pickles, sauces, etc., since receiving a chest freezer two Christmases ago, but I would love to upgrade to canning. I'm a little intimidated, though!

At 9:11 AM, Blogger dicity said...

My family always canned and the rows of jars on the shelves in the basement are part of my childhood. So is all that help making the applesauce, peeling the peaches and tomatoes.

As an adult, I've made jams and jellies and procured the recipe for pickles from a cousin. My goal is to preserve my garden produce.


At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Vanessa said...

I just moved to New Orleans and I got a large back of Okra in my CSA box. The only way I had okra before was fried, but I've heard pickled okra is great and want to try it. I like pickled anything, so it seems like a good option.

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I can remember my mom canning and freezing everything under the sun. Everything we grew, and we had a big garden, that did not get eaten right away was either canned or frozen for the gray winter days. I am the father of a celiac child (4 years old) and would love to start canning and freezing items but I just don't know where to start. This just may be the push that I need to learn and get things started. My 4 yr old loves any veggie that you stick in front of him and he would just be tickled to death if I could give him these same tasty fruits and veggies in the middle of winter. I can remember have 2 large shelves and 2 big freezers in the basement full of all sort of foods for later consumption. I hope that one day I can provide this same experience to my own kids especially my celiac. Thanks for the motivation and maybe your giveaway will be the start that I need. Thanks for blogging and keep up the good work.

At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Cat said...

Unfortunately, I don't have any stories about canning yet. My grandmother made a mean squash casserole and fantastic lasagna, but in her pantry Del Monte ruled the roost. Now that I have my own pantry, I want to make home canning a part of my family traditions.
The intimidation factor has stopped me for the past two summers, but before the fall rolls around I am determined to overcome my canning reservations. In fact, I wrote a blog post about this very subject not too long ago:

Thanks for giving canning encouragement to those of us who need it!

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Sheryl said...

My parents always had a garden and growing up they canned peas, beans,beets, and froze other foods like strawberries, raspberries, and rhubarb. And who prepared the veggies for canning? My 2 sisters and I.

5 years ago, when my son was placed on the autism spectrum and a gluten free diet was recommended, I started freezing foods. He is a very fussy eater with only 10 things on his 'like' list and apple sauce was one of them. After freezing millions of containers of apple sauce, he decided he didn't like it! So I baked and baked (and still bake)apple sauce specialty!!

A few years later, I managed to gather all my Mom's old canning supplies and have been canning ever since! My friends think this is very 'organic' of me...I tell them I grew up this way! I love pouring over cook books and the internet to find something new to make. Luckily canning can be Mom passed away and never shared her canning secrets. But canning is still a family activity today with my daughter helping me prepare the veggies and fruits and my husband in charge of the hot water boil. This year, I have froze corn off the cob and canned pears, ketchup, dilly beans, tomato soup (Hard to find gluten free stuff!), and pickle cubes. But as the summer comes to an end...I look forward to getting bargain cucumbers for bread and butter and dill pickles. And then when everyone is sick of tomatoes, I will snatch up all I can to make as much and as many different types of salsa as possible.

With all this canning, we LOVE to share! My husband gives away canned goods to all his co-workers...when canning season arrives, I am always amazed at the numerous trips we make to get more jars, lids, and rings.

Well, have to go....pickle carrots are my next project!

At 9:48 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I wish I had a story to share. I love food, but I'm not sure where I got it. I don't recall anyone canning--mom, or either grandma. I've made jam once, but really need to do it again. It's hard to do when it's all so good fresh. I did freeze some pesto a few weeks ago, and always freeze blueberries.

At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Christy Brennand said...

I'm thrilled to say that I became a gardener this season for the first time in my life. I didn't have grand expectations, but something on a cellular level told me I needed to acquire the skills necessary to grow my own food. For me the beginning of the season was daunting since I really had no concept of how to be a 'gardener'. Now, as Fall settles into the Rocky Mountains, I look back at the season and feel just a little bit proud of my first garden. It's not glorious, or really very pretty. I tried to best to overcome several of Mother Nature's trials... bugs, mildew, weeds, bunnies, sometimes I won the battle, sometimes I did not. I watched my plants grow and and transform and produce. Each day in the garden was a new discovery for me. Oh the joys of being surprised by a flower that produces a patty pan, and an herb, freshly picked, that transforms an ordinary dinner into something magical! There is nothing else like it in this world.

I knew when I planted five different varieties of tomato plants that I might have some challenges in the Fall, but I think a part of me didn't believe that my garden would do as well as it did. Now I have the magnificent problem of figuring out how to preserve my glorious bounty so I can enjoy the fruits of my labor all winter long.

Thanks for your blog Shauna.


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