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The revolution will be put into glass jars

Last year, I was invited to join a group of amazing women, mostly food writers or bloggers, but a few simply passionate about preservation, in Seattle, Philadelphia and a few other locales to help promote the Canvolution -- a celebration of Canning Across America all year long that culminated in a weekend Can-a-rama. In cities across the country, canners were invited to host events in which beginning and experienced putter-uppers would join together in something like the harvest parties of old.

The inaugural event was scheduled for the weekend of Hood-to-Coast; much though I wanted to host something, it was a little more than I could juggle. I canned alone on Sunday when I returned home from a lot of mostly-sleepless running. I was lucky enough, though, to be invited to a tomato canning party in September, giving me the community canning fix to get me through the winter (and, for the record, I canned enough tomatoes! -- with my solo jars and the product of our canning party, 70 pints were more than my family needed). I've been inviting a few friends over for strawberry jam-making on Wednesdays, and though it's been a bit chaotic, it's been lovely, too. And the jam has been delicious!

This year I was thrilled to see the Can-a-rama scheduled for the weekend of July 24 and 25. Immediately, I knew I'd host a canning party; every time I've mentioned food preservation here, I've had at least one commenter wonder, how can I learn to can food? This will be just a bit of a lesson, and it will be hands-on and messy and probably hot, but it should be fun.

I'm planning to book a solid day of harvesting and preserving on Saturday, July 24; we'll begin by harvesting some plums from a neighbor's tree, then make a number of preserves based on those plums (including jam, a savory sauce and perhaps plum pickles), and probably some other preserves -- blueberry, apricot, zucchini? -- based on what's bountiful and cheap that week. I'll demonstrate both water-bath canning and lacto-fermentation; but no pressure canning. I think my Southeast Portland home can fit about a dozen mamas and papas; I'd love to see parties clustered around neighborhoods so that you all could use this as a community-building as well as a teaching/learning/food-securing opportunity. (If you want to host but aren't into the coordination, leave a comment and I'll help.)


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I would love to learn how to can! I'll be there, just let me know logistics. I will then host later this fall....I love the idea!

I have been wanting to learn how to can, and I am not such a good self-teacher, so this would be wonderful! Count me in!

just fyi: preserve and serve in north portland has been holding once monthly free canning classes out in st.johns - check out their site!
I went to the strawberry jam class - it was great (and delish)


I'm so bummed to be camping that weekend. We are still enjoying jars of canned applesauce and peaches from last fall. The kids love having "fresh" fruit year round. I'm hoping to broaden my skills this year with tomatoes, pears and jam.

I do need to get a big canning pot. Any ideas on where to find on cheap?

Be sure to stock up on your jars and canning supplies early! Now that canning is the latest, hip trend (a nice trend, and hopefully it sticks!), the stores run out of these items. I was running all over the place to find medium-sized jars last August.

Oh, I love to can and would love to join in and learn some more with other mamas, but I will be out of town.

Gina- look at Goodwill, thrift stores or yard sales for inexpensive, used big pots for canning. They are plentiful! I feel like I always see them around.

I do lots of canning (jam, tomatoes, pickles, peaches, salsa, marinara sauce, green beans, you name it). 60+ jars of jam last year, and yes we ate it all minus some gifts. I'm surprised that you might have plums in July, especially given the cool spring. Our tree doesn't usually ripen until mid-late August. Sorry if that's off topic, but struck me as unusual. Maybe it's an early variety and I'm just clueless.
Either way, Have a great time and happy processing!

Preserve and serve also has a "library" where you can borrow all the equipment you need for canning (except the actual jars)

will you be including any instructions for low/no sugar possibilities? (not splenda...) i'm very interested in learning to can in a group setting. thanks for offering this!

Christine and SJ: great to hear you're coming! there's a Facebook event page if you want more details: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=137096009642314

Toots: I'm impressed you ate all your jam. I had a hard time using mine even with a lot of gifts... I've been eating a lot of it these past few months though in anticipation. more biscuits needed! as for plums, I harvested the particular tree I'm hoping to harvest, again (a neighbor who can't use nearly all her plums) about the end of July. my observations from last year are that different varieties of plums become ripe from early July to late August. the enormous plum tree we used to have in our backyard (it was impossible to harvest, and we took it down) always was ripe by early July, before my first son's birthday... it's marked in my memory of the time right before and after his birth :)

anna: most definitely! I use honey as a sweetener in my jam instead of sugar. I use a lot less than you would, of sugar... and while it makes a looser jam that you have to water-bath process a bit longer, in my opinion, the flavor is better. (and if it bothers you to have a loose jam, you can call it "sauce" or "syrup".)

in respect for those who like a nice jiggly jam, I will have a few packets of Pomona pectin on hand. if we *do* end up with lots of nice plums and apricots, though, we shouldn't have a problem, as they're both moderate-pectin fruits and, in my experience, do nicely as jams without any additional pectin if you cook them for a long time.

I'd love to be a part of this as well! I love a nice plum jam for marinades and glazes. September would also be great because I live with a bunch of pickle lovers.

Sarah, I love your honey-vanilla-lemon strawberry jam recipe. yum! just tried it with raspberries last night. yum yum.

I have been looking for canning classes and stumbled upon your blog. My kids are grown and gone, and now I want to learn to can. I can't make your 7/24 plum class and was hoping you had more than the maximum and would have two classes!? Any chance of you offering more classes in the future? Thanks, Barbara

I echo Barbara's comment: was interested in canning and found this post, but unfortunately can't do 7/24. Let us know if you plan to do more! Also, did I miss a post with the receipe for honey-vanilla-lemon strawberry jam recipe? Could you re-post the link? Sounds heavenly..

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