July 05, 2010
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.)