Can I Can? Join Me on My Quest to Learn to Can This Summer!

by Grace Evans

My summer goal this year is to learn to can and preserve. I’m all about self-improvement, but I just don’t feel like I’m going to get around to speaking fluent French, keeping bees or sewing my own sundresses in the next couple of months. It’s the right season to preserve produce at it’s peak, so now is the perfect time to start. And doesn’t that lady in the Canadian WWI “Waste Not Want Not” poster look wise? I anticipate that I will look that wise by the end of the summer due to my newfound canning knowledge.

A few canning-savvy people from NYC have agreed to teach me how to can. Laena from Anarchy in a Jar, Shamus from Brooklyn Brine, Sherri Brooks Vinton who wrote Put ‘Em Up and Kate Payne from The Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking. I’ll be blogging about my canning adventures and sharing what I learn with you, BUST readers.

I’ve always found canning and preserving kind of intimidating, which is why I haven’t done it already. Here are the reasons that I haven’t canned:

– I’m afraid of botulism.

– I’ve heard of women getting together for Canapalooza weekends where they spend all weekend in a hot summer kitchen canning massive quantities of things. While this sounds appealing, it makes the process seems like a huge production. Which is intimidating, right?

– I never think of learning to do it at the right time of year.

– I don’t know anyone who does it. OH WAIT, my mom knows how. My mom has this weird habit of telling me once I’m really excited about something, “Oh yeah I used to do that all the time before you were born. Yeah I’ve made pickles. And lots of jam. Oh, and chutney, your dad used to like chutney, I’ve made that.” But she kept that a secret until last week, so that wasn’t at all helpful for my previous canning aspirations.

– I’ve never had a garden to can stuff from. Now I have my friend Katharine’s. Thanks, K.

– Again, I’m just really afraid of botulism. I don’t even really understand what it is. But I’ll find out!

Now, the reasons I want to learn how to can:

– It’s a great way to incorporate local food into your year-round eating.

– I like learning new things, especially food-oriented things.

Fine Cooking’s Lemon Curd recipe, my mom loves lemony things.

– I feel like it’d be a very nice gift to give people at the holidays.

Saving the Season’s Fresh Pumpkin Butter recipe. YUM.

– I really like jam in my yogurt, and homemade jam would have less sugar because I will put less in it.
 Take that, commercially-made yogurt industry.

Simple Bite’s Blueberry Syrup recipe, just imagine this on good vanilla ice cream, wow!

– My friend Katharine’s garden goodies will need to go somewhere. I hope her family doesn’t eat all of them?

– I like cooking and making things with people, and canning is something that my friends want to do, and apparently my mom secretly can can too. Lady bonding time!

Diggin’ the Dirt’s Vanilla Pear Butter recipe, I need this in my life.

– Actually any pear preserving recipes. I love pears so much, and the more I can eat them all year round the better. Store-bought canned pears just aren’t the same.

– Picking out fruit from local farms is just another way to experience your community’s wonderful farms and markets!

So maybe you should learn to can too this summer? Okay great, let’s get started. 

Stay tuned for my very first canning lesson. I’ll give you a hint how it ends: Blueberry lavender jam. Yes!

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