Planning for canning (and workshops)


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At 11:30 I was notified that today at 1:30 was the last, last chance to submit a grant application to the community small grants, urban agriculture program. So what did I do? Wrote three grant applications for possible fall workshops/projects in under an hour. To be fair, Brian provided the text for most of one of them, but still – I’m feeling pretty impressed with myself at the moment.

Now I’m casting around for free canning jars, in hopes that if I get the grant to do the “Canning for Community” workshop, I can do it on the eco-cheap and get most of my supplies secondhand – purchasing the fruits from the valley in bulk (and inexpensively). Fortuitously, I did just buy a second canner with a bunch of jars last weekend at a garage sale, so I am in good shape in terms of equipment.

I’ve never done a canning workshop before, though I’ve been putting my own food by for more than a decade now. Sometime around when I moved to Vancouver it was something I decided to teach myself to do, and since then my larder has always been stocked (sometimes over-stocked) with preserves of all kinds. Mostly just canned tomatoes, fruit and a bit of jam/fruit syrup – always the apple chutney – and last year we did salsa and pie filling and dessert sauce as well (Brian was a keen learner!) The one thing I haven’t done much of is pickling, owing to one crappy batch of pickles about nine years ago. This year I’ve decided it’s time to master the dill pickle and I’ve got those on my shopping list for our trip to Keremeos in mid-August.

Besides pickles, I’m also thinking this year – cherry chutney and/or cherry jam, applesauce and canned tomatoes for sure. Some type of funky salsa (so handy to have on hand for parties), and I don’t know what else but it will come to me when I’m looking at fruit and veggies (or Brian will be inspired to make something totally different). I don’t like to do too much jam because we just don’t use it that much and I’ve still got *jars* of it left from two years ago – I find chutney is a much more versatile condiment and goes lovely on rice dishes, with bbq, as a relish with cheese, with curry, etc. I would also love to do some green tomato salsa this year if the opportunity presents itself (ie: cheap tomatillos).

In any case, it would be awesome to get a grant to do some community-learning, but I also know that there’s folks out there who would like to learn even if I don’t. Perhaps some of us could get together, rent the kitchen at Kiwassa House for an afternoon and purchase some stuff in bulk? You can let me know via FB or email if you’re at all interested. It’ll be a busy fall, but if I organize it around a day I am already planning to can, it might just work!

Oh, and one other thing if you’re a canner. Please do contribute to the Vancouver Museum canning exhibit this summer before August 26th. I just think this is so unbelievably cool, I want that to be one full wall of preserves!

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