How do you find the time?
I wouldn’t know where to begin.
I would end up poisoning someone if I tried that.
These are the comments that Jim and I hear from so many people whenever we talk about canning our vegetables from the garden.
Just like any new adventure, canning can be frightening if you have never tried it before. But the best way to try something new is to just do it. Easier said then done, right? Ok, I have to admit, I would rather have someone right there with me when I am trying to learn something new. That is the exact reason that we decided to hold a ‘Canning is Cool’ class series this summer.
Our last canning class of the year occurred this past weekend. I like to keep the classes small so participants can have “hands on” experience, and everyone has the opportunity to practice the skills that we talk about. The participants all had interest in canning, but most had never tried it before or had tried it once and needed a refresher course.
Two of the individuals I have known and kept in touch with over Facebook for the past three years. The other two, I had met a couple of weeks before the class at a Goodyear Tire store of all places! While in the waiting area to have the dreaded “nail in the tire” fixed – I overheard a conversation next to me about gardening, recipes, and canning. My ears of course perked up! As i joined in the conversation – I ended up meeting two new friends that were delighted to hear about the ‘Canning is Cool’ class.
What do we cover in the class? Well it really depends on the attendees and what is available in the garden. Since this last class was filled with individuals new to canning, we covered the basics.
We completed two recipes – salsa that can be canned using the water bath method, and spaghetti sauce by pressure canning. Each of them had a cutting board and a knife and all chipped in to make the recipes. We were then ready to give everyone the opportunity to practice the actual canning methods.
There is no charge for the class. In fact, the only “cost” was a band-aid for a tiny cut, and a little milk poured over the hands of someone who touched a few too many hot pepper seeds :). The best part is getting to spend time with others who enjoy the same things we do, and knowing that we helped someone else learn to preserve the goodness of a summer garden.
Some important tips from the day:
1. You learn best by doing – both successes and failures
2. Wipe the rim of the jars after you fill them
3. You don’t have to have fancy equipment to can
4. You must follow a recipe to know what are safe water bath or pressure canning procedures.
5. You don’t have to have a garden to can – Farmer’s markets are a great resource for fresh vegetables!